We end our production of thoriated (WT20) plasma spray electrodes.

As of June 2014, Plansee will produce only environmentally friendly plasma spray electrodes made of tungsten-lanthanum (WL10). A scientific study has confirmed the excellent performance of these electrodes.

With tungsten-lanthanumoxide plasma spray electrodes (WL10), we have developed an ecologically responsible, high-performance alternative to radioactive thorium. It is well worth making the change: WL10 helps cut shipment, packaging and recycling costs. Moreover, a scientific study has shown just what the WL10 plasma spray electrodes are capable of:

The Institute for Physical Metallurgy and Materials Testing at Leoben University compared the performance of electrodes manufactured from tungsten-lanthanum (WL10) with that of thoriated (WT20) electrodes. While the ignition properties are identical good, the deposition efficiency of WL10 is even consistently better. The arc voltage of tungsten-lanthanum drops more slowly than that of thoriated tungsten. This results in less wear. Due to the reduced abrasion at WL10 electrodes, the porosity of the applied coatings also increases only half as quickly.

Another bonus: The switchover to WL10 electrodes does not require any modifications of the process parameters such as current intensity or arc voltage.

The in-depth scientific study will be presented and published for the first time at the 18th Plansee Seminar in June 2013.

Until then, you can find further details on the research study here.