Ceramic Thermal Barrier Coatings (TBCs) on superalloy components are being used successfully in land-based gas turbine and aircraft engines. These coatings are generally made by either air plasma spraying (APS) or electron beam physical vapour deposition (EB-PVD). In general, EB-PVD TBCs have superior durability due to the columnar structure, but they are very expensive compared to APS TBCs. EB-PVD TBCs are used primarily in the most severe applications such as turbine blades and vanes in aircraft engines. This paper presents an economical process to make durable TBCs, called Axial Suspension Plasma Spray (ASPS). This technology combines Mettech’s axial injection plasma process and automatic suspension feed system. The resulting TBCs exhibit columnar structures with vertical cracks, similar to EB-PVD coatings. Such structures allow the TBC to compensate for thermal expansion differences between it and the base material. The ASPS process presents an economical alternative to EB-PVD to produce durable columnar TBCs.

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