In this study, a suspension containing Mg-Al-spinel nanopowder was deposited on bond-coated IN738 and stainless steel disks by suspension plasma spraying with and without substrate cooling. Coating surfaces and cross-sections were examined by SEM, EDS, and XRD analysis and thermal cycling tests were performed. SEM images of coatings obtained on cooled stainless steel show a unique columnar microstructure with a cauliflower-like surface. XRD spectra of the nanopowder and coatings revealed evidence of phase changes in the material deposited on cooled substrates. In preparing samples for thermal cycling tests, a YSZ layer was deposited on bond-coated IN738 prior to spraying the suspension. Double-layered Mg-Al-spinel/YSZ thermal barrier coatings produced on cooled substrates exhibited a thermal cycling lifetime of 2000 cycles at 1390°C, compared to 101 cycles for the TBCs sprayed without substrate cooling. The superior performance of the TBCs sprayed with substrate cooling is attributed to the densification of the coatings, revealed by SEM images, and possibly the formation of CaO-6Al2O3 needles and Al2O3 precipitates as identified by EDS measurements.

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