This study is concerned with the effect of reduced pressure on heat transfer to particulate matter injected into a thermal plasma. Reduced pressures in conjunction with the high temperature in a thermal plasma lead to a strong increase of the mean free path in the plasma, and therefore, the Knudsen effect plays an important role in this situation. Based on the heat-conduction-potential jump approach, calculated data are presented for small spherical particles, typical for applications in plasma processing (for example, plasma spraying) and in plasma chemistry. The Knudsen effect severely reduces the heat flux to a particle, even for larger particles (up to 100 μm) at reduced pressures. For small particles (<10 μm) this effect is even felt at atmospheric pressure.

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