Abstract: Results are presented for physical experiments that illustrate the possibilities and efficiency of visualization for studying the effect of operating conditions (backward-facing stepped forming nozzle, exit diameter of anode, mass flow, and composition of working gas) on plasma flows at low Reynolds numbers for advanced coating and powder processing. In particular, the shadow method, based on adaptive visualization transparency, is used for imaging electric arc and plasma jet flow patterns for different operating conditions. Because of visualization, the optimal geometrical characteristics of the backward-facing stepped forming nozzle, mass flow rate of the working gas, and its composition were found. These provide: (1) the absence of micro-shunting of the arc inside the backward-facing stepped nozzle for a transfer arc and twin arcs; and (2) compared to transient and turbulent jets, a higher density for the heat flux from a quasi-laminar flow to the surface of a flat substrate and the powder material to be treated, for nontransfer arc DC (direct current) torches and DC–RF (direct current and radio frequency) hybrid plasma flow system.
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