Thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) experience thermal gradients, excessive temperature, and high heat flux from hot gases in turbines during service. These extended thermal effects induce sintering and significant microstructure changes, which alter the resulting thermal conductivity of the TBCs. To study the effects of different starting microstructures on the sintering behavior, plasma-sprayed yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) TBCs produced from different starting powders and process parameters were subjected to thermal aging at several temperatures and time intervals, after which their thermal conductivity was measured at room temperature. The thermal conductivity results were analyzed by introducing the Larson–Miller parameter, that describes the creep-like behavior of thermal conductivity increase with annealing temperature and time. One set of coatings was also annealed under the same conditions and the thermal conductivities were measured at elevated temperatures. The temperature-dependent thermal conductivity data were analyzed and used to predict the long-term thermal property behavior for a general YSZ coating design.
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