The plasma rotating electrode process (PREP) is rapidly becoming an important powder fabrication method in additive manufacturing. However, the low production rate of fine PREP powder limits the development of PREP. Herein, we investigated different factors affecting powder formation during PREP by combining experimental methods and numerical simulations. The limitation of increasing the rotation electrode speed in decreasing powder size is attributed to the increased probability of adjacent droplets recombining and the decreased tendency of granulation. The effects of additional Ar/He gas flowing on the rotational electrode on powder formation is determined through the cooling effect, the disturbance effect, and the inclined effect of the residual electrode end face simultaneously. A smaller-sized powder was obtained in the He atmosphere owing to the larger inclined angle of the residual electrode end face compared to the Ar atmosphere. Our research highlights the route for the fabrication of smaller-sized powders using PREP.
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