Blister development and spallation in thermal barrier coatings

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


Gas turbines are widely used to generate electricity and to propel aircraft. Increasingly scarce resources, the need to remain competitive, and climate change are driving the UK's energy market and its aerospace industry to demand efficiency, reliability and emissions reduction. Being heat engines, the gas temperature at the entry to the turbine is required to be as high as possible to maximise efficiency, and consequently, metallic components in this part of the engine are coated in thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) to protect them from melting. Further increases in gas turbine efficiency, reliability and emissions reduction absolutely necessitate further improvements to TBCs. Optimised TBCs would allow significantly higher gas temperatures to increase efficiency and will be more durable. Part of the barrier to optimising TBCs is that a complete mechanistic understanding of TBC failure has not yet been achieved. Such an understanding would facilitate timely maintenance, avoid unplanned down time, and underpin and direct development of new optimised TBC material systems. This PhD research will achieve a mechanistic understanding of blister development and spallation in TBCs with the aim to predict and optimise TBC lifetime, increase operating temperature, and minimise lifetime variation.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513088/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2305347 Studentship EP/R513088/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2023 Harry Hay