Thermal Barrier coatings were tested in three point bending tests, combined with acoustic emission evaluation.

The test specimens consist of a 2 mm substrate with a 0.1 mm FeCrAlY bondcoat and a 0.3 mm ZrO2/Y2O3 93/7.8 weight % topcoat. Both the topcoat and the bondcoat were air plasma sprayed under varying conditions of the substrate cooling and the length of the plasma flame.

On investigating the microstructure of the coatings, using light and electron microscopy, differences could be observed, due to the various spraying techniques.

The coated specimens were tested in a tensile testing machine equiped with a special tool for three point bending tests. During bending, acoustic emissions from the coating were measured, using a two channel acoustic emission apparatus. Two types of AE sensors were used, namely a 150 kHz resonance sensor and a 0.1 −1 MHz wide band sensor.

The various coatings show different AE patterns, especially the bondcoats which showed differences according to the spraying techniques.

The use of wide band sensors had some advantages, however they were less sensitive than resonance sensors, they take signals that were received by the resonance ones.

After testing, the specimens were prepared and microscopically investigated. Herewith it was possible to establish a relationship between the measured AE signal and the type of coating and coating failure.

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