Structure, composition, and defect control during plasma spray deposition of ytterbium silicate coatings

Abstract

Environmental barrier coatings (EBCs) are needed to protect SiC structures exposed to high temperatures in water vapor-rich environments. Recent studies of a tri-layer EBC system consisting of a silicon layer attached to the SiC, a mullite diffusion barrier and a low-steam volatility ytterbium silicate topcoat have shown some promise for use at temperatures up to 1316 °C. However, the performance of the coating system appeared to be dependent upon the manner of its deposition. Here, an air plasma spray method has been used to deposit this tri-layer EBC on α-SiC substrates, and the effects of the plasma arc current and hydrogen content upon the structure, composition, and defects in ytterbium monosilicate (Yb2SiO5) and disilicate (Yb2Si2O7) topcoats are investigated. Modification of spray parameters enabled the loss of SiO from the injected powder to be reduced, leading to partial control of coating stoichiometry and phase content. It also enabled significant control of the morphology of solidified droplets, the porosity, and the microcracking behavior within the coatings. Differences between the Yb2SiO5 and Yb2Si2O7 are discussed in the context of their EBC application.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    For Yb2SiO5, the stoichiometric Yb:Si ratio is 2 and for the Yb2Si2O7 this stoichiometric ratio is 1.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge Elizabeth Opila and Jeroen Deijkers of the University of Virginia for assistance and helpful discussions related to the Factsage modeling and Bryan Harder of the NASA Glenn Research Center. This work was supported by the Office of Naval Research under Grant N00014-11-1-0917 managed by Dr. David Shifler.

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Correspondence to Haydn N. G. Wadley.

Appendix: Thermal expansion of ytterbium disilicate

Appendix: Thermal expansion of ytterbium disilicate

The thermal expansion coefficient (CTE, α) of Yb2Si2O7 has been measured for 95 % dense spark plasma-sintered (SPS) ytterbium disilicate, Fig. 14. The SPS blank was machined to 25 × 5 × 5 mm in dimension and was lightly diamond polished to remove surface imperfections and to square edges. The resulting dilatometry specimen was annealed in lab air at 1400 °C for 100 h prior to testing to establish oxygen stoichiometry in the material after sintering.

Fig. 14
figure14

Thermal strain and expansion coefficient of 100 h annealed 95 % dense spark plasma-sintered (SPS) ytterbium disilicate

X-ray diffraction pole figures were produced for the dilatometry specimen to assess its crystallographic texture. The pole figures indicated no crystallographic texture in the dilatometry specimen. XRD patterns confirmed the specimen to be monoclinic ytterbium disilicate with no other phases discernible. Dilatometry was performed using a Netzsch (Burlington, MA) 402-C dilatometer using high-purity α-alumina as a calibration standard. Heating and cooling ramp rates were 0.05 °C/s. Slight hysteresis was observed in the heating and cooling curves of the specimen, Fig. 14, but did not invalidate the CTE measurement.

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Richards, B.T., Zhao, H. & Wadley, H.N.G. Structure, composition, and defect control during plasma spray deposition of ytterbium silicate coatings. J Mater Sci 50, 7939–7957 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-015-9358-5

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Keywords

  • Ytterbium
  • Bond Coat
  • Plasma Spray
  • Plasma Plume
  • Standoff Distance