This research has focused on characterization of the wire arc spray process with the goal of achieving improved process controls. Arc voltage and current traces have been analyzed on-line using an oscilloscope and a personal computer with LabView software. The characteristic features of the arc voltage fluctuations are correlated with the molten metal droplet formation process using a high speed Laser Strobe video system operating in synchronization with the oscilloscope trigger. Voltage minima occur when larger globules of molten metal leave the wire tip. Analysis of the voltage fluctuations indicate that they are neither random nor periodic, and that they can be described based on chaos theory. This approach may be used for achieving a further understanding of the dynamic nature of the process, and for the development of control algorithms.

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