Kinetic and heat transfer analysis have been undertaken in order to predict the decomposition of polymer feedstock particles during thermal spraying. Thermogravimetric measurements indicated that the decomposition of PMMA had an order of reaction of unity and an activation energy of 135 kJ mol-1. The polymer decomposition temperature is shown to be a function of the particle residence time in the flame and is much higher than in conventional polymer processing. This has an important influence on process modelling, since the choice of decomposition temperature used in the heat transfer analysis has a major effect on the calculated temperature profiles. The work shows that realistic predictive data can only be obtained by using the dynamic decomposition temperature. Application of the model indicates that only the surface layers of the polymer feedstock particles undergo significant decomposition during plasma spraying and that the feedstock injection position is an important control parameter.

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