Durability of thermal barrier coating (TBC) systems is important because of recent rising of turbine inlet temperature (TIT) for improved efficiency of industrial gas turbine engines. However, high-temperature environment accelerates the degradation of the TBC as well as causes spalling of the top coat. Spalling of the top coat may be attributed to several factors, but evidently the growth of thermally grown oxide (TGO) should be considered as an important factor. One method for reducing the growth rate of TGO is to provide a dense α-Al2O3 layer at the boundary of the bond coat and top coat. This α-Al2O3 layer will suppress the diffusion of oxygen to the bond coat and consumption of aluminum of the bond coat is suppressed. In this study, we focused on thermal pre-oxidation of the bond coat as a means for forming an α-Al2O3 barrier layer that would be effective at reducing the growth rate of TGO, and we studied the suitable pre-oxidation conditions. In the primary stage, we analyzed the oxidation behavior of the bond coat surface during pre-oxidation heat treatment by means of in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. As a result, we learned that during oxidation in ambient air environment, in the initial stage of oxidation metastable alumina is produced in addition to α-Al2O3, but if the thermal treatment is conducted under some specific low oxygen partial pressure condition, unlike in the ambient air environment, only α-Al2O3 is formed with suppressing formation of metastable alumina. We also conducted transmission electron microscope (TEM) and XRD analysis of oxide scale formed after pre-oxidation heat treatment of the bond coat. As a result, we learned that if pre-oxidation is performed under specific oxygen partial pressure conditions, a monolithic α-Al2O3 layer is formed on the bond coat. We performed a durability evaluation test of TBC with the monolithic α-Al2O3 layer formed by pre-oxidation of the bond coat. An isothermal oxidation test confirmed that the growth of TGO in the TBC that had undergone pre-oxidation was suppressed more thoroughly than that in the TBC that had not undergone pre-oxidation. Cyclic thermal shock test by hydrogen burner rig was also carried out. TBC with the monolithic α-Al2O3 layer has resistance to >2000 cycle thermal shock at a load equivalent to that of actual gas turbine.

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