A TEM Investigation of Columnar-Structured Thermal Barrier Coatings Deposited by Plasma Spray-Physical Vapor Deposition (PS-PVD)

Rezanka, S. and Somsen, C. and Eggeler, G. and Mauer, G. and Vaßen, R. and Guillon, O.

Volume: 38 Pages: 791-802
DOI: 10.1007/s11090-018-9898-y
Published: 2018

The plasma spray-physical vapor deposition technique (PS-PVD) is used to deposit various types of ceramic coatings. Due to the low operating pressure and high enthalpy transfer to the feedstock, deposition from the vapor phase is very effective. The particular process conditions allow for the deposition of columnar microstructures when applying thermal barrier coatings (TBCs). These coatings show a high strain tolerance similar to those obtained by electron beam-physical vapor deposition (EB-PVD). But compared to EB-PVD, PS-PVD allows significantly reducing process time and costs. The application-related properties of PS-PVD TBCs have been investigated in earlier work, where the high potential of the process was described and where the good resistance to thermo-mechanical loading conditions was reported. But until now, the elementary mechanisms which govern the material deposition have not been fully understood and it is not clear, how the columnar structure is built up. Shadowing effects and diffusion processes are assumed to contribute to the formation of columnar microstructures in classical PVD processing routes. For such structures, crystallographic textures are characteristic. For PS-PVD, however, no crystallographic textures could initially be found using X-ray diffraction. In this work a more detailed TEM investigations and further XRD measurements of the columnar PS-PVD microstructure were performed. The smallest build units of the columnar TBC structure are referred to as sub-columns. The observed semi-single crystal structure of individual sub-columns was analyzed by means of diffraction experiments. The absence of texture in PS-PVD coatings is confirmed and elementary nucleation and growth mechanisms are discussed. © 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

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