The process parameters of atmospheric plasma spraying (APS) influence the coating formation and properties of partially yttria stabilized zirconia (PYSZ) thermal barrier coatings (TBCs). Simulations can be used to investigate this dependency and to design the coating process for a targeted production of TBCs. A whole process simulation was realized by modeling the linked sub-processes: plasma torch, plasma free jet, powder particles characteristics and coating formation. The coating formation can be described by model approaches with different physical assumptions and geometric scales. One approach is the simulation of single powder particles hitting the substrate surface. An alternative macroscale FEM-model-approach is applied in the coating formation simulation. A group of particles is pooled in a splash dependent on the pre-calculated particle distribution in front of the substrate. A third modeling approach is applied to calculate effective mechanical and thermodynamical properties of coatings dependent on the experimentally obtained or calculated microstructure of the PYSZ-TBC, which is based on different homogenization methods. The application of three simulation approaches in the whole process simulation of APS is discussed, advantages and disadvantages are elucidated. Results based on simulation and experiments are presented for a variation of process parameters. Missing links in the multiscale approach are detected to make suggestions for future modeling and simulation work.

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