Thermal barrier coatings (TBC) in general fail by delamination of the ceramic partially stabilised Zirconia (PSZ) top coat (TC) from the underlying metallic bond coat (BC). The process is initiated by crack initiation and growth either in the TC or in the thermally grown oxide (TGO) that will form at the interface between top and bond coat. The aim of the present paper is to describe the degradation due to crack growth in such a way that data can be used for FEM modelling work. Flat rectangular test coupons have been subjected to thermal cyclic fatigue (TCF) in air with a temperature range from 100°C to 1100°C. Identical samples were removed from the TCF furnace at different times of thermal cycling in order to achieve material with different degree of damage. After mounting, cutting and sectioning the specimen were investigated by light optical microscopy (LOM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) together with an energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS). Image analysis of LOM micrographs was used for measurement of crack distribution and degree of TC damage. A method for crack growth measurement based on the degree of TC / TGO damage has been developed. Furthermore, a measure of TBC damage as a function of elapsed fatigue cycles was introduced. The TBC material shows a mixed black and white fracture surface after TCF cycling. Delamination crack growth data are presented. Delaminated TC/BC interface surface as a function of fatigue cycles follows an S-curve behaviour.

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