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Thermal Conductivity Prediction for Thermal Barrier Coatings

[+] Author Affiliations
Monica B. Silva, S. M. Guo

Louisiana State University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA

Patrick F. Mensah, Ravinder Diwan

Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA

Paper No. IMECE2010-38728, pp. 1475-1484; 10 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; NanoEngineering for Energy; Engineering to Address Climate Change, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4429-8
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) are used in gas turbine engines to achieve a higher working temperature and thus lead to a better efficiency. Yttria-Stabilized-Zirconia (YSZ), a material with low thermal conductivity, is commonly used as the TBC top coat to provide the thermal barrier effect. In this paper, an analytical model is proposed to estimate the effective thermal conductivity of the TBCs based on the microstructures. This model includes the micro structure details, such as grain size, pore size, volume fraction of pores, and the interfacial resistance. To validate the model, two sets of TBC samples were fabricated and tested for thermal conductivity and associated microstructures. The first set of samples were disk shaped YSZ-Al2 O3 samples fabricated using a pressing machine. The YSZ-Al2 O3 powder mixture was 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 wt% Al2 O3 /YSZ powder ratio. The second set of samples were fabricated by Atmospheric Plasma Spray process for two different microstructure configurations, standard (STD) and vertically cracked (VC), at two different thicknesses, 400 and 700 urn respectively. A laser flash system was used to measure the thermal conductivity of the coatings. Experiments were performed over the temperature range from 100°C to 800°C. The porosity of the YSZ samples was measured using a mercury porosimetry analyzer, POREMASTER 33 system. A Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) was used to study the microstructure of the samples. It is observed that the microstructure and the porosity are directly linked with the thermal conductivity values. The relationship of the properties to the real microstructure determines the validity of the proposed model.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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