This coating facility centers around the Axial III Plasma Spray System, one of only two systems used for research in Canada. This system combines a unique array of machines including a large compressor, chiller, high voltage power consoles and control center to support the spray system itself. The spray gun, actually a bundle of three sets of anode and cathode, is extremely powerful, utilizing 00kW power. This unique feature allows powders to be injected into the plasma stream axially, accelerating the powder particles to much higher velocity than that in conventional systems with only one set of cathode and anode.

With the amount of power needed to run the Spray System, the result is a process that is very noisy and produces a large amount of heat, which is why the coatings are housed in an isolation booth. There is a large capacity fan to remove excess heat in the room and experimenters are separated from the plasma process to ensure safety. The plasma spray system used to melt coating materials can reach as high as 5000°C, the same temperature as the surface of the sun.

The research conducted in this facility encompasses Carleton’s focus on materials research and explores different coating compositions, their adhesion to substrate surfaces, and also resulted properties. Current research carried out using this facility includes new thermal barrier coatings for gas turbine applications, corrosion resistant coatings for nuclear reactor applications and erosion/wear resistant anti-icing coatings for aircraft.

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