Thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) have become an indispensable technology as the temperature of turbine inlet gas has increased. TBCs reduce the temperature of the base metal, but a reduction of internal pores by sintering occurs when using TBCs, and so the thermal barrier performance of TBCs is deteriorated. This in turn increases the temperature of the base metal and could shorten its lifespan. The authors have already clarified by laboratory acceleration tests that the deterioration of the thermal barrier performance of TBCs is caused by a decrease in the noncontact area that exists inside TBCs. This noncontact area is a slit space that exists between thin layers and is formed when TBCs are coated. This paper examines the relations between the decrease of the noncontact area and the exposure conditions, by measuring the thermal conductivity and the porosity of TBCs exposed to the temperatures that exist in an actual gas turbine, and derives the correlation with exposure conditions. As a result, very high correlations were found between the thermal conductivity and exposure conditions of TBCs, and between the porosity and exposure conditions. A very high correlation was also found between the thermal conductivity and porosity of TBCs. In addition, techniques for predicting TBC operating temperature were examined by using these three correlations. The correlation of diameter and exposure conditions of the gamma prime phase, which exists in nickel base super alloys, is used as a general method for predicting the temperature of parts in hot gas paths. This paper proposes two kinds of operating temperature prediction methods, which are similar to this general method. The first predicts the operating temperature from thermal conductivity measurements of TBCs before and after use, and the second predicts the operating temperature from thermal conductivity measurements of TBCs after use and porosity measurements before use. The TBC operating temperatures of a combustor that had been used for 12,000 hours with an actual E-class gas turbine were predicted by these two methods. The advantage of these methods is that the temperature of all parts with TBC can be predicted.

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