Thermal conductivity plays a critical role in the thermal transport of thermal sprayed coatings. In this paper, a combined image analysis and finite element method approach is developed to assess thermal conductivity from high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of the coating microstructure. Images are analyzed with a collection of image processing algorithms to reveal the microscopic coating morphology. The processed digital image is used to generate a two-dimensional finite element meshing in which pores, cracks and the bulk coating material are identified. The effective thermal conductivity is then simulated using a commercial finite element code. Results are presented for three coating material systems: yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ), molybdenum and NiAl, and results are found to be in good agreement with experimental values, obtained using the laser flash method. YSZ coatings are also annealed and the analysis procedure repeated to determine if the technique could accurately assess changes in coating morphology.

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