To maximize energy efficiency, gas turbine engines used in airplanes and for power generation operate at very high temperatures, even above the melting point of the metal alloys from which they are comprised. This feat is accomplished in part via the deposition of a multilayer, multicomponent thermal barrier coating (TBC), which lasts up to approximately 40,000 h before failing. Understanding failure mechanisms can aid in designing circumvention strategies. We review results of quantum mechanics calculations used to test hypotheses about impurities that harm TBCs and transition metal (TM) additives that render TBCs more robust. In particular, we discovered a number of roles that Pt and early TMs such as Hf and Y additives play in extending the lifetime of TBCs. Fundamental insight into the nature of the bonding created by such additives and its effect on high-temperature evolution of the TBCs led to design principles that can be used to create materials for even more efficient engines.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - Apr 5 2011
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