This paper provides a review of recent studies undertaken to examine the mechanical and thermal stability of silicon nitride ceramic components that are currently being considered for use in gas turbine applications. Specific components examined included a bowed ceramic nozzle evaluated in an engine test stand, ceramic vanes exposed in two field tests, and an air-cooled vane that is currently under development. Scanning electron microscopy was used to elucidate the changes in the microstructures arising from the environmental effects. The recession of the airfoils resulting from the volatilization of the normally protective silica layer was also measured. The stability of the intergranular phases was evaluated using x-ray diffraction. The surface strength was measured using a miniature biaxial test specimen, which was prepared by diamond core drilling.

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