Abstract

Suspension Plasma Spraying (SPS) is a thermal spray process based on a suspension of fine (<10 μm) or even ultrafine (<100 nm) powders which is axially fed into the induction plasma through an atomization probe. The atomization of the suspension results in microdroplets (20 μm in size). They are flash dried in the plasma, melted and finally can impact a substrate to build a coating or be cooled down and collected as a spheroidized powder. The large industrial potential of this technology results first from the use of fine powder or even sol-gel which is one of the starting step for many ceramic processes, and second from the various side benefits of the liquid phase in the SPS. Indeed, the liquid phase can be simply a carrier for ultrafine powder, or a protection against oxidation in the case of metals, or a protection for health in the case of whiskers, for instance. It can also take a part in chemical reactions when the liquid phase is a solution of chloride, nitrates... or it can be an organic liquid for the synthesis of carbide, where CO is a strong reducer. Furthermore the liquid phase can also release some energy because of its combustion at the very end of the process. It can also change the local atmosphere surrounding the in flight droplets in the plasma where it is possible to use H2O2 as a carrier in order to increase the oxygen partial pressure around sensitive to oxygen decomposition materials. The applications of SPS are in the powder synthesis (in R&D or production), in the spraying of metals, ceramics or composites directly synthesized, or in production of very reactive with air materials. Applications of SPS will be presented for hydroxyapatite (HA) and NiAlMo. Induction plasma SPS coatings and/or powders properties will be discussed as a function of the SPS process variables.

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