Plasma-sprayed thermal barrier coating (TBC) systems are widely used in gas turbine blades to increase turbine entry temperature (TET) and better efficiency. Yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) has been the conventional thermal barrier coating material because of its low thermal conductivity, relative high thermal expansion coefficient and good corrosion resistance. However the YSZ coatings can hardly fulfill the harsh requirements in future for higher reliability and the lower thermal conductivity at higher temperatures. Among the interesting TBC candidates, materials with pyrochlore structure show promising thermo-physical properties for use at temperatures exceeding 1200 °C. Sm2Zr2O7 bulk material does not only have high temperature stability, sintering resistance but also lower thermal conductivity and higher thermal expansion coefficient. The sintering characteristics of ceramic thermal barrier coatings under high temperature conditions are complex phenomena. In this paper, samarium zirconate (Sm2Zr2O7, SZ) powder and coatings were prepared by solid state reaction and atmosphere plasma spraying process, respectively. The microstructure development of coatings derived from sintering after heat-treated at 1200–1500 °C for 50 h have been investigated. The microstructure was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the grain growth was analyzed in this paper as well.

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