Although very frequently used, traditional (low velocity) flame spraying is a much forgotten process. No major research has been performed during the last decade. This paper focuses on the problem of reproducibility of a typical flame gun used with modern automated process equipment. An on-line diagnostic process control tool measuring the temperature, velocity, size and position of the powder in the flame was applied during spraying of abradable coatings of NiCrAl/Bentonite, coatings which are commonly applied to fan and compressor housings of gas turbines. An automated closed loop flame spray unit with mass flowmeters for the oxygen and acetylene gases was used. Influence of different process parameters on the sprayed particles, such as nozzle design, gas flows, and powder feed rate is discussed. Coating properties, such as erosivity, porosity, microstructure and tensile strength, are evaluated. It is demonstrated that even fairly small process changes influence the flame sprayed particles as well as the properties of the resultant coating.

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