Abstract

Cascaded plasma torches are becoming increasingly common, but the influence of geometry, notably that of the anode, is relatively unexplored. This work investigates the relationship between anode-cathode distance and plasma voltage fluctuations. The study was conducted using cascaded torches that can be configured with different numbers of neutrodes and commercially available Al2O3 powders. The powders were sprayed at different gas flow rates and current intensities while monitoring voltage fluctuations as well as in-flight particle temperature and velocity. The resulting alumina coatings were characterized based on microstructure, phase composition, porosity, and hardness. A frequency analysis of the arc voltage fluctuations revealed well-defined peaks at 60, 120, and 180 kHz that vary in intensity based on the number of neutrodes. The more neutrodes, the sharper and higher the peak. In contrast, the power spectra of the arc voltage generated by a conventional plasma torch contains no such peaks, indicating a random displacement of the arc root leading to less stability of the arc.

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