What is the plasma spray process?

The plasma spray process is the technique used to apply a coating to a substrate. The substrate is usually prepared by being blasted to give it a coarse surface for bonding. It then uses an electrical arc to create a plasma gas which heats the coating material, usually in a powder form, until it becomes molten or semi-molten. Finally, it is sprayed onto a substrate where it quickly cools and forms a strong bond.

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This is done for many reasons, from creating a purely decorative finish on consumer goods to providing the tough, hi-tech surfaces demanded by the automotive and aerospace industries. This versatility results from the fact that there are a variety of surface coatings to suit a lot of different applications. In addition, many different substrates and components, even quite delicate and flammable ones, can be coated in this way, as the base material isn’t heated and the coating cools quickly on impact.

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Applications of the plasma spray process.

Whether it is the non-stick pan in your kitchen or the heated rollers in the bathroom, you can be sure that there are a great many items in your environment that have gone through the plasma spray process. However, it is not just household items that benefit from this method.

Medical implants, aero engine components, and diesel engine parts are all protected by plasma spraying. Depending on the coating chosen, plasma spraying can prevent corrosion, surface degradation, and oxidative and thermal degradation. For an overview of the various coatings, check out specialists such as https://www.poeton.co.uk/standard-treatments/plasma-coatings. For a long-read summary of what a plasma spray coating can protect against see here:

The future of the plasma spray process.

With the world focused on renewables and sustainability, plasma spraying will continue to be in demand. Turbines and solar panels are already benefiting from plasma-sprayed components to help with thermal conductivity and to reduce wear. As the technology develops, we can expect both the creation of new plasma spraying techniques, as well as the emergence of advanced ranges of coatings, thus providing new solutions to practical problems.

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