The advantages and disadvantages of plasma spraying

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Plasma spraying is a manufacturing process that involves using an extremely hot gas to warm up coating materials. These materials range from different glasses to plastics. As the high temperature gas is the primary heat source, it becomes electronically-charged. The coating materials are then sprayed evenly onto the substrate material. This is known as coating the substrate. This method is highly popular and is one of the most frequently used thermal spray coating techniques. Its use is established across a range of sectors including healthcare, automotive engineering and even agriculture.

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Techniques

Plasma spray involves many different techniques. This ranges from Atmospheric Plasma Spraying (conducted in an air atmosphere) to Vacuum Plasma Spraying (in a low pressurised environment).

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Extended substrate shelf life

A spray creates a strong and high quality coating. This is a key advantage as it can guarantee control, insulation and protection, ensuring it is durable for extensive day to day use. Another commonly reported benefit of thermal plasma spraying is that it ensures that the end product is less susceptible to corrosion, weathering or overall general deterioration. As thermal spray coating is usually thicker than other coating methods, it guarantees better protection.

Wide range of coating materials

There are a range of different materials that can be used in plasma spray. These are usually dependent on the substrate.

Wide range of substrate materials

As a method, thermal plasma spraying can be used with a number of different materials ranging from plastics to glass. Due to this versatility, plasma spraying is used effectively in a number of different industries.

Cost of equipment

Whilst it is cost efficient after the investment, procuring thermal spraying apparatus can be highly expensive. It is also expensive to use and maintain it properly. As IRS states, because it is so hot, the plasma gun can get damaged and may need to be repaired or replaced.

The range of materials used

Plasma spraying uses a wide range of coating materials. Each material is suitable for different conditions. For example, Alumina-Titania can be used when absorption isn’t needed, whereas Graphite Composite is used when time can cause significant wear. Chromium Carbide is particularly useful for thin surfaces and objects whereas Chromium Oxide can be used for hard objects.

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