, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 396-404

Correlation between spraying conditions and microcrack density and their influence on thermal cycling life of thermal barrier coatings

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It is generally known that the porosity of thermal barrier coatings is essential to guarantee a sufficiently high strain tolerance of the coating during thermal cycling. However, much less is known about the influence of the specific morphology of porosity, such as microcracks and typically larger pores, on the performance of the coatings. Both features are usually formed during plasma spraying of yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) thermal barrier coatings (TBCs). In this investigation, the influence of microcracks on the thermal cycling behavior was studied. The amount of microcracks within YSZ thermal barrier coatings was changed by changing the powder-feeding rate. Only small changes of the total porosity were observed. Mercury porosimetry served as a tool to investigate both the amount of microcracks and pores in the coating. Additionally, microcrack densities were determined from metallographical investigations. A linear dependence between the amount of fine pores determined by Hg porosimetry and the crack density was obtained for one set of coatings. Thermal cycling TBC specimens with different microcrack densities were produced and tested in a gas burner test facility. At high surface temperatures (above 1300 °C), failure occurred in the ceramic close to the surface. Under these conditions, the samples with increased horizontal microcrack densities showed a significant increase of thermal cycling life.