, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 268-272

New environmental barrier coating system on carbon-fiber reinforced silicon carbide composites

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Carbon-fiber-reinforced silicon carbide composites (C/SiC) are promising materials for high-temperature, light weight structural components. However, a protective coating and environmental barrier coating (EBC) are necessary to prevent the oxidation of the carbon and the reaction of the formed silica scale with water vapor. Current EBC systems use multiple layers, each serving unique requirements. However, any mismatch in the coefficients of thermal expansion (CTE) creates internal stresses and might lead to crack formation. In this case, oxygen and water vapor penetrate through the EBC, reducing the lifetime of the component. Mullite (Al6Si2O13) is used in many known EBC systems on silicon-based ceramics either as an EBC itself or as a bondcoat. Due to its low CTE and its sufficient thermal cycling behavior, mullite was chosen in this investigation as a first layer. As mullite suffers loss of SiO2 when exposed to water vapor at high temperatures, an additional protective top coat is needed to complete the EBC system. Different oxides were evaluated to serve as top coat, especially high-temperature oxides with low coefficients of thermal expansion (LCTE). An EBC containing mullite as bondcoat and the LCTE oxide La2Hf2O7 as a top coat is proposed. Both layers were applied via atmospheric plasma spraying. In this paper, results of the influence of processing conditions on the microstructure of single mullite and LCTE oxide layers as well as mullite/LCTE oxide systems are presented. Special emphasis was directed toward the crystallinity of the mullite layer and, in the top layer, toward low porosity and reduced crack density.