Experiments concerning the growth rate and quality of an amorphous hydrogenated carbon film deposited in a reactor based on the supersonic expansion of an arc plasma are reported. In order to be able to calculate the deposition rate, an existing flow model has been completed with chernical reaction rate equations. The methane gas that is injected in the arc appears to be dissociated and ionized completely. The calculated deposition rates agree well with the experimental values obtained with in-situ ellipsometry. The growth rates are an order of magnitude larger than those reported in the literature. Still, the film quality, expressed in terms of refractive index, optical bandgap, and hardness, is similar to those obtained by other authors. © 1990 Plenum Publishing Corporation.