The thermal shock resistance of plasma-sprayed thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) with different top coats was investigated according to the Japanese Industrial Standard "Testing methods for thermal cycle and thermal shock resistance of thermal barrier coatings" (JIS H 8451:2008). Three types of ceramics powders, namely, Al2O3, 8 mass % Y2O3-stabilized ZrO2 (YSZ) and La2Zr2O7 (LZ) were used in the top-coat spray. After the specimens were subjected to a thermal shock, the tensile adhesive strength of the TBCs was measured and the thermal shock resistance as defined in JIS H8451 was determined. The thermal shock properties of the TBCs were found to depend strongly on the chemical composition of the top-coat material. For TBCs with Al2O3 and LZ, the adhesive strength decreased with increasing thermal shock temperature difference (ΔT). On the other hand, little change in the adhesive strength was observed with increasing ΔT for YSZ TBC. From these results, the thermal shock resistance, ΔTc, was determined to be 480 °C for Al2O3, 680 °C for LZ and more than 880 °C for YSZ TBC. Furthermore, the influence of thermal shock on the adhesive strength of TBCs was investigated in detail through observations of cross-sectional microstructures and fracture surfaces after adhesive testing.

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