Aspects of fatigue life in thermal barrier coatings
Abstract: Thermal barrier coatings (TBC) are applied on hot components in airborne and land-based gas turbines when higher turbine inlet temperature, meaning better thermal efficiency, is desired. The TBC is mainly applied to protect underlying material from high temperatures, but also serves as a protection from the aggressive corrosive environment.Plasma sprayed coatings are often duplex TBC's with an outer ceramic top coat (TC) made from partially stabilised zirconia - ZrO2 + 6-8% Y2O3. Below the top coat there is a metallic bond coat (BC). The BC is normally a MCrAlX coating (M=Ni, Co, Fe ... and X=Y, Hf, Si ... ). In gas turbine components exposed to elevated temperatures nickel-based superalloys are commonly adopted as load carrying components. In the investigations performed here a commercial wrought Ni-base alloy Haynes 230 has been used as substrate for the TBC. As BC a NiCoCrAlY serves as a reference material and in all cases 7% yttria PS zirconia has been used. Phase development and failure mechanisms in APS TBC during service-like conditions have been evaluated in the present study. This is done by combinations of thermal cycling and low cycle fatigue tests. The aim is to achieve better knowledge regarding how, when and why thermal ban'ier coatings fail. As a fmal outcome of the project a model capable of predicting fatigue life of a given component will help engineers and designers of land based gas turbines for power generation to better optimise TBC's.In the investigations it is seen that TBC life is strongly influenced by oxidation of the BC and interdiffusion between BC and the substrate. The bond coat is known to oxidise with time at high temperature. The initial oxide found during testing is alumina. With increased time at high temperature Al is depleted from the bond coat due to interdiffusion and oxidation. Oxides others than alumina start to form when the Al content is reduced below a critical limit. It is here believed that spinel appears when the Al content is lowered below 2w/o in the bond coat. Here it was shown that a faster growing oxide, rich in Ni, Cr and Co forms at the interface. Al depletion is also linked to BC phases. Initially the bond coat is a γ/ß-material possibly with very fine dispersed γ'. Simultaneously with Al-depletion the ß-phase is found to disappear. This occurs simultaneously with the formation of spinel. However, oxidation is not only a disadvantage. Low cycle fatigue tests reveal that oxide streaks within the bond coat will slow down crack growth due to crack deflection and crack branching. Therefore benefit of or damage from oxide growth on crack initiation and propagation is dependent on crack mode, spalling of the ceramic TC or growth of "classic" cracks perpendicular to the surface.From the observations conclusions are drawn regarding fatigue behaviour ofTBC systems. The basic idea is that all cracks leading to failure initiate in the thermally grown oxide (TGO). Following the initiation, they can, however, grow to form either delamination cracks leading to top coat spallation or cracks transverse to the surface leading to component failure.
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