Plasma spraying of metals and metallic alloys performed in controlled atmosphere or soft vacuum results in coatings with a low oxidation level and excellent thermomechanical properties. Unfortunately, the spraying cost is drastically increased by one or two orders of magnitude compared to air plasma spraying (APS). Thus the minimisation of oxidation during APS is a key issue for the development of such coatings. Oxygen concentrations sucked into plasma jets have been measured by an enthalpy probe linked to a mass spectrometer. This technique allows to determine simultaneously plasma composition, temperature and velocity distributions within the plasma plume. Results have been compared to those obtained with a two-dimensional turbulent flow model. The obtained results have shown that surrounding air entrainment is reduced when using adequate Ar/H2/He mixtures which viscosity is higher than that of Ar/H, mixtures, limiting the turbulence in the jet fringes and pumping of the surrounding atmosphere.

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