Anode erosion is a common concern in dc plasma spray torches. It depends largely on the heat flux brought by the arc and the dimensions, residence time, and mode of the arc attachment to a given location on the anode wall. This paper compares anode arc attachment modes predicted by LTE (local thermodynamic equilibrium) and 2-T (two-temperature) arc models that include the electrodes in the computational domain. The analysis is based on a commercial cascaded-anode plasma torch operated at high current (500 A) and low gas flow rate (60 NLPM of argon). It shows that the LTE model predicted a constricted anode arc attachment that moves on the anode ring while the 2-T model predicted a diffuse and steady arc attachment. The comparison between the predicted and measured arc voltage indicated that the 2-T prediction is closer to the actual voltage. A post-mortem observation of a new anode ring on a plasma torch operated under the same conditions confirmed the diffuse arc attachment predicted by the 2-T arc model.

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