Plasma spraying: the most common applications

Plasma spraying is a way of applying a protective coating to a range of materials including, most commonly, metal and ceramic. The process involves spraying particles which have been heated to exceptional temperatures onto the material, which then mechanically bonds to the material on cooling.

Why choose plasma spraying

Plasma spray is used across a range of industry sectors for a variety of purposes. The most common purposes are to provide protection to moving mechanical components against wear and corrosion or to provide thermal insulation to engineering parts which will be subjected to extreme temperatures.

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There are a number of treatments available for plasma spraying, including tungsten carbide, which is often used to seal ring grooves in turbine engines to guard against wear from fretting and hydroxyapatite which is applied to create a biocompatible coating for dental implants and other medical use.

You should be guided by an expert, such as when determining which plasma spray treatment is most appropriate for your purposes. This is because this process poses a number of health and safety hazards to the untrained operator, and requires the use of sensitive equipment that is costly to own and maintain. A professional will be able to operate the equipment to best effect to deliver the result that you are seeking whilst minimising all health and safety risks.

A professional will also undertake all necessary pre-work to ensure that your material is in the best possible condition prior to spraying, in order to improve the bond that will be achieved by the spraying process. This includes any cleaning, sanding and other preparatory work that may be required to achieve a clean, dry surface.

What industries use plasma spraying

There are a number of industries that use plasma spraying to good effect to increase the effectiveness of their mechanical components and to extend their lifetimes. The industries that use this technology most regularly are aerospace, mechanical engineering, marine engineering, biomedical, electronics, automotive and industries related to the chemical and nuclear sectors.

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These industries typically choose plasma spraying because of the long lasting effect that it delivers, offering long-term savings over replacing mechanical components early due to degradation. This is especially true of industries that have little choice but to subject their mechanical components to extremes of weather and temperature or egress by sand and other damaging particles.

Author: Richard Brown

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