Design of Thermal Barrier Coating Systems
Thermal barrier coatings (TBC’s) are used to provide both thermal insulation and oxidation protection to high temperature components within gas turbines. The development of turbines for power generation and aviation has led to designs where the operation conditions exceed the upper limits of most conventional engineering materials. As a result there has been a drive to improve
thermal barrier coatings to allow the turbine to operate hotter for longer.
The focus of this study has been the development of a new generation of TBC system for industrial implementation. The goal for these new coatings was to achieve lower conductivity and longer lifetime than those coatings used today. The route taken to achieve these goals has been twofold. Firstly an alternative stabiliser has been chosen for the zirconium oxide system in the form of dysprosia. Secondly, Control of the powder morphology and spray parameters has been used to generate coating microstructures with favourable levels of porosity.
Samples have been heavily characterised using the laser flash technique for evaluation of thermal properties. Measurements were performed at room temperature and at intervals up to 1200°C.
Samples have also been tested in their as produced state and after heat treatments of up to 200 hours.
Lifetime evaluation has been performed using the thermo-cyclic fatigue test to expose coating systems to successive cycles of heating and cooling combined with oxidation of the underlying metallic coating.
Microstructures have been prepared and analysed using SEM. An image analysis routine has been used to attempt to quantify changes in microstructure features between coating types or coating exposure times and to relate those changes to changes in thermal properties.
Results show that dysprosia as an alternative dopant gives a reduction in thermal conductivity. While small at room temperature and in the as produced state; the influence becomes more pronounced at high temperatures and with thermal exposure time. Overall, the greatest sustained influence on thermal conductivity has been from creating coatings with high levels of porosity.
In relation to lifetime, the target of double the thermo-cyclic fatigue life was achieved using a coating with engineered porosity. Introducing a polymer to the spray powder helps to generate large globular pores within the coating together with a large number of delaminations. Such a structure has shown to be highly resistant to TCF testing.
Thermal Barrier Coating
Atmospheric Plasma Spraying