Zirconia-based thermal barrier coatings (TBCs), produced using Vacuum Plasma Spray (VPS) technology, were recently subjected to burner rig testing. The VPS TBC performance was compared to TBCs deposited using conventional Atmospheric Plasma Sprayed (APS) and Electron Beam Physical Vapor Deposition (EB-PVD) techniques. All of the coatings consisted of an MCrAlY bond coat and a partially stabilized ZrO2-8%Y2O3 (PSZ) top coat. The TBC coated pins (6.35 mm in diameter) were tested using gas temperatures ranging from 110CC to 1500°C. The pins were tested to failure under severe conditions (1500°C gas temperature, with no internal cooling). The initial testing indicated that under typical operating gas temperatures (1400°C), the VPS TBC performance was comparable, if not superior, to conventional TBCs. Following the encouraging results, thick composite TBCs, produced in a single-step operation, were investigated. Preliminary work on ZrO2-8% Y2O3/Ca2SiO4 composite TBCs with interlayer grading included thermal shock testing and temperature drop measurements across the TBC. The composite TBC thicknesses ranged from 850µm to 1.8 mm. Initial results indicate that thick adherent composite TBCs, with high resistance to severe thermal shock, can be produced in a single step using the VPS process.

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