, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 124-135
Date: 28 Dec 2007

Thermal Barrier Coatings Made by the Solution Precursor Plasma Spray Process

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The solution precursor plasma spray (SPPS) process is a relatively new and flexible thermal spray process that can produce a wide variety of novel materials, including some with superior properties. The SPPS process involves injecting atomized droplets of a precursor solution into the plasma. The properties of resultant deposits depend on the time-temperature history of the droplets in the plasma, ranging from ultra-fine splats to unmelted crystalline particles to unpyrolized particles. By controlling the volume fraction of these three different constituents, a variety of coatings can be produced, all with a nanograin size. In this article, we will be reviewing research related to thermal barrier coatings, emphasizing the processing conditions necessary to obtain a range of microstructures and associated properties. The SPPS process produces a unique strain-tolerant, low-thermal conductivity microstructure consisting of (i) three-dimensional micrometer and nanometer pores, (ii) through-coating thickness (vertical) cracks, (iii) ultra-fine splats, and (iv) inter-pass boundaries. Both thin (0.12 mm) and thick (4 mm) coatings have been fabricated. The volume fraction of porosity can be varied from 10% to 40% while retaining the characteristic microstructure of vertical cracks and ultra-fine splats. The mechanism of vertical crack formation will be described.