, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 57-65

Superior thermal barrier coatings using solution precursor plasma spray

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A novel process, solution precursor plasma spray (SPPS), is presented for depositing thermal barrier coatings (TBCs), in which aqueous chemical precursors are injected into a standard direct current plasma spray system. The resulting coatings microstructure has three unique features: (1) ultra fine splats (1 µm), (2) nanometer and micron-sized interconnected porosity, and (3) closely spaced, through-thickness cracks. Coatings over 3 mm thick can be readily deposited using the SPPS process. Coating durability is excellent, with SPPS coatings showing, in furnace cycling tests, 2.5 times the spallation life of air plasma coatings (APS) and 1.5 times the life of electron beam physical vapor deposited (EB-PVD) coatings. The conductivity of SPPS coatings is lower than EB-PVD coatings and higher than the best APS coatings. Manufacturing cost is expected to be similar to APS coatings and much lower than EB-PVD coatings. The SPPS deposition process includes droplet break-up and material arriving at the deposition surface in various physical states ranging from aqueous solution, gel phase, to fully-molten ceramic. The relation between the arrival state of the material and the microstructure is described.