Failure mechanisms in APS and SPS thermal barrier coatings during cyclic oxidation and hot corrosion

Abstract: Thermal Barrier Coatings (TBCs) are advanced material systems that are being used in the hot sections of gas turbines such as combustor, turbine blades, and vanes. The top ceramic coating in TBCs provides insulation against the hot gases and the intermediate metallic bond coat provides oxidation and corrosion resistance to the underlying turbine components.Durability of thermal barrier coatings is very important for the overall performance of the gas turbine. TBCs can fail in several different ways and there is a combination of more than one failure mechanism in most situations. One of the most widely used TBC is atmospheric plasma sprayed (APS) yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ). Both the deposition technique and the TBC material have certain limitations. The main aim of this research is to study new TBC materials and/or new deposition techniques and compare with the conventional YSZ and understand their failure mechanisms during cyclic oxidation and hot corrosion.Thermal cyclic oxidation of a newly developed high purity nano YSZ thermal barrier coating has been studied. Cross sectional analysis of exposed as well as completely failed samples showed a mixed-type failure caused by crack propagation parallel to the bond coat/top coat interface. The majority of the damage occurred towards the end of the coating life. A finite element model has been developed to study the probability of crack growth along different paths that leads to the final failure.Hot corrosion mechanism in suspension plasma sprayed two-layer gadolinium zirconate/YSZ, three-layer dense gadolinium zirconate/gadolinium zirconate/YSZ, and a single-layer YSZ has been studied in the presence of sodium sulfate and vanadium pentoxide. The test results showed that gadolinium zirconate coatings were more susceptible to corrosion compared to YSZ coatings despite gadolinium zirconate coatings having lower reactivity with the corrosive salts.Thermal cycling behavior of a high chromium bond coat has been studied. Cross-sectional analysis showed formation of sandwich type microstructure with chromium rich oxide and alumina as the top and the bottom layers.Inter-diffusion of minor elements between different MCrAlY coatings – substrate systems has been studied using, diffusion simulation software, DICTRA. The simulation results showed that the diffusion of minor elements in the coatings is dependent on the rate of β phase depletion in the beginning. After the depletion of β phase there was no clear dependence of the coating composition on the diffusion of minor elements.

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