Thermal Barrier Coatings, Oxidation Resistant Coatings, Molten-Deposit Attack, Hot Corrosion, Environmental Degradation, Materials Characterization, High-Temperature Materials


The development of thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) has been undoubtedly the most critical advancement in materials technology for modern gas turbine engines. TBCs are widely used in gas turbine engines for both power-generation and propulsion applications. Metallic oxidation-resistant coatings (ORCs) are also widely employed as a stand-alone protective coating or bond coat for TBCs in many high-temperature applications. Among the widely studied durability issues in these high-temperature protective coatings, one critical challenge that received greater attention in recent years is their resistance to high-temperature degradation due to corrosive deposits arising from fuel impurities and CMAS (calcium-magnesium-alumino-silicate) sand deposits from air ingestion. The presence of vanadium, sulfur, phosphorus, sodium and calcium impurities in alternative fuels warrants a clear understanding of high-temperature materials degradation for the development of fuel-flexible gas turbine engines. Degradation due to CMAS is a critical problem for gas turbine components operating in a dust-laden environment. In this study, high-temperature degradation due to aggressive deposits such as V2O5, P2O5, Na2SO4, NaVO3, CaSO4 and a laboratory-synthesized CMAS sand for free-standing air plasma sprayed (APS) yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ), the topcoat of the TBC system, and APS CoNiCrAlY, the bond coat of the TBC system or a stand-alone ORC, is examined. Phase transformations and microstructural development were examined by using x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. This study demonstrated that the V2O5 melt degrades the APS YSZ through the formation of ZrV2O7 and YVO4 at temperatures below 747°C and above 747°C, respectively. Formation of YVO4 leads to the depletion of the Y2O3 stabilizer and the deleterious transformation of the YSZ to the monoclinic ZrO2 phase. The investigation on the YSZ degradation by Na2SO4 and a Na2SO4 + V2O5 mixture (50-50 mol. %) demonstrated that Na2SO4 itself did not degrade the YSZ, however, in the presence of V2O5, Na2SO4 formed vanadates such as NaVO3 that degraded the YSZ through YVO4 formation at temperature as low as 700°C. The APS YSZ was found to react with the P2O5 melt by forming ZrP2O7 at all temperatures. This interaction led to the depletion of ZrO2 in the YSZ (i.e., enrichment of Y2O3 in t' -YSZ) and promoted the formation of the fluorite-cubic ZrO2 phase. Above 1250°C, CMAS deposits were observed to readily infiltrate and significantly dissolve the YSZ coating via thermochemical interactions. Upon cooling, zirconia reprecipitated with a spherical morphology and a composition that depended on the local melt chemistry. The molten CMAS attack destabilized the YSZ through the detrimental phase transformation (t -> t -> f + m). Free standing APS CoNiCrAlY was also prone to degradation by corrosive molten deposits. The V2O5 melt degraded the APS CoNiCrAlY through various reactions involving acidic dissolution of the protective oxide scale, which yielded substitutional-solid solution vanadates such as (Co,Ni)3(VO4)2 and (Cr,Al)VO4. The molten P2O5, on the other hand, was found to consume the bond coat constituents significantly via reactions that formed both Ni/Co rich phosphates and Cr/Al rich phosphates. Sulfate deposits such as Na2SO4, when tested in encapsulation, damaged the CoNiCrAlY by Type I acidic fluxing hot corrosion mechanisms at 1000°C that resulted in accelerated oxidation and sulfidation. The formation of a protective continuous Al2O3 oxide scale by preoxidation treatment significantly delayed the hot corrosion of CoNiCrAlY by sulfates. However, CoNiCrAlY in both as-sprayed and preoxidized condition suffered a significant damage by CaSO4 deposits via a basic fluxing mechanism that yielded CaCrO4 and CaAl2O4. The CMAS melt also dissolved the protective Al2O3 oxide scale developed on CoNiCrAlY by forming anorthite platelets and spinel oxides. Based on the detailed investigation on degradation of the APS YSZ and CoNiCrAlY by various corrosive deposits, an experimental attempt was carried out to mitigate the melt-induced deposit attack. Experimental results from this study demonstrate, for the first time, that an oxide overlay produced by electrophoretic deposition (EPD) can effectively perform as an environmental barrier overlay for APS TBCs. The EPD protective overlay has a uniform and easily-controllable thickness, uniformly distributed closed pores and tailored chemistry. The EPD Al2O3 and MgO overlays were successful in protecting the APS YSZ TBCs against CMAS attack and hot corrosion attack (e.g., sulfate and vanadate), respectively. Furnace thermal cyclic oxidation testing of overlay-modified TBCs on bond-coated superalloy also demonstrated the good adhesive durability of the EPD Al2O3 overlay.


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Graduation Date



Sohn, Yong-Ho


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Materials Science & Engineering








Release Date

May 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)