Envisioning the use of nanostructured YSZ coatings at high temperatures cause concerns in the scientific community. Questions have been raised about the possibility of accelerated sintering of these ultra-fine materials and the associated changes in properties that could accompany this sintering. In this work, nanostructured YSZ coatings were engineered to counteract sintering effects by tailoring the coatings to exhibit a bimodal microstructure formed by (i) a matrix of dense YSZ zones (produced from molten YSZ particles) and (ii) large porous nanostructured YSZ zones (produced from semi-molten nanostructured YSZ particles) that were embedded in the coating microstructure during thermal spraying. These coatings were subjected to heat treatment in air at 1400°C for 1, 5 and 20 h. The superior driving force for sintering exhibited by the porous nanozones, when compared to that of the dense zones, caused the nanozones to shrink at much faster rates than those exhibited by the denser matrix zones (i.e., differential sintering), thereby creating a significant network of voids in the coating microstructure. Due to these effects, after 20 h exposure at 1400°C, the thermal conductivity and elastic modulus values of the conventional coatings were approximately two times higher than those of the nanostructured ones.

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