The initiation of surface and interface edge cracks in functionally graded ceramic thermal barrier coatings resulting from the application of a thermal load is studied. For a given specimen configuration, the singular behavior of the thermal stresses is analytically determined in terms of a singularity power β and pseudo-stress intensity factors K1 and K2. Crack initiation at the surface at the interface is related to the surface temperature and the temperature difference between the surface of the coating and the substrate. The experimental results are used to provide Weibull curves for the probability of survival of plasma sprayed mullite and CoCrAlY coating systems.

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