In this study, acoustic emission sensing is used to monitor interfacial cracking in thermal barrier coatings during uniaxial tensile adhesion testing. The TBCs consist of a ZrO2 topcoat and a NiCrAl bond coat, both of which are applied by atmospheric plasma spraying. Tensile testing was performed to failure and the resulting fracture surfaces were examined by SEM and XRD analysis. Experimental results show that cracks usually initiate in the ceramic layer then propagate toward the metallic-ceramic interface where failure occurs. Finite element simulations were also conducted, confirming the experimental findings.

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