Thermal Barrier Ceramic Coating

  • What is Thermal Barrier Ceramic Coating

    Thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) are advanced materials systems usually applied to metallic surfaces operating at elevated temperatures, such as gas turbine or aero-engine parts, as a form of exhaust heat management. These 100 μm to 2 mm thick coatings of thermally insulating materials serve to insulate components from large and prolonged heat loads and can sustain an appreciable temperature difference between the load-bearing alloys and the coating surface.

  • Structure

    Thermal barrier coatings typically consist of four layers: the metal substrate, metallic bond coat, thermally-grown oxide (TGO), and ceramic topcoat. The ceramic topcoat is typically composed of yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) which is desirable for having very low conductivity while remaining stable at nominal operating temperatures typically seen in applications. This ceramic layer creates the largest thermal gradient of the TBC and keeps the lower layers at a lower temperature than the surface. However, above 1200 °C, YSZ suffers from unfavorable phase transformations, going from t'-tetragonal to tetragonal to cubic to monoclinic.

  • Used

    Automotive. Thermal barrier ceramic coatings are becoming more common in automotive applications. They are specifically designed to reduce heat loss from engine exhaust system components including exhaust manifolds, turbocharger casings, exhaust headers, downpipes and tailpipes. This process is also known as "exhaust heat management". When used under-bonnet, these have the positive effect of reducing engine bay temperatures, therefore reducing the intake air temperature.

  • Aviation. Interest in increasing the efficiency of gas turbine engines for aviation applications has prompted research into higher combustion temperatures. Turbine efficiency is strongly correlated with combustion temperature. Higher temperature combustion improves the thermodynamic efficiency of the machine, giving a more favourable ratio of work generated in relation to waste heat. Thermal barrier coatings are commonly used to protect nickel-based superalloys from both melting and thermal cycling in aviation turbines. Combined with cool air flow, TBCs increase the allowable gas temperature above that of the superalloy melting point