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A Thermal Barrier Coating (TBC) system is designed to protect a gas turbine component from high temperatures. Development of TBCs allowing higher combustion temperatures is of high interest for all turbine manufactures since it results in a more complete combustion which in turn results in higher fuel efficiency as well as environmentally cleaner emissions. A 1% increase in engine efficiency of a medium sized power plant of 300 MW would result in estimated savings of more than $2 M/year in fuel costs and approximately 25 000 t/year reductions in CO2 emissions. Nanostructured TBCs produced by Suspension Plasma Spraying (SPS) can significantly improve the thermal insulation ability due to a very fine porous microstructure. SPS TBCs are of significant commercial interest as the technique is considerably cheaper than commercially used Electron Beam Physical Vapour Deposition (EB-PVD), both in terms of equipment cost as well as running cost, in addition to higher deposition rates. However, nanostructured TBCs produced by SPS have not yet been commercially introduced due to low reliability and life expectancy of the coatings. Improvements in reliability and lifetime of SPS TBCs which enables an alternative to the EB-PVD process would result in huge cost savings as well as lower emissions. The coating’s functional performance, i.e. thermal conductivity and lifetime, is strongly dependent on its microstructure, interface characteristics, and feedstock/substrate materials. To enhance the coating’s functional performance, a fundamental understanding of relationships between materials, interface characteristics, microstructure formation, and functional performance is essential, which is the scientific aim of this project. The industrial aim is to develop a coating solution with improved functional performance. It is anticipated that the project will lead to a new coating system with low thermal conductivity and long lifetime but at a fraction of the cost as compared to EBPVD coatings, having impact in both existing and new applications. The industrial partners in this project are SIEMENS Turbomachinery and GKN Aerospace. The development of next generation TBCs matches the companies’ plans very well in strengthening their positions in design and manufacture of gas turbines for land and aero based applications. A close interaction between the industrial partners and the university required for conducting this project will contribute to the development of the applicant’s research skills, while collaboration with world’s leading research groups, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany and Institute of Plasma Physics, Czech Republic will broaden the applicant’s research network. Individual professional development plan will be mentored by the reference group during the project. The project is thus expected to provide the applicant a suitable platform to become an established and independent researcher with the future goal of receiving an associate professor position.

Participating researchers

Mohit Kumar Gupta
Nicolaie Markocsan
Stefan Björklund
Shrikant Joshi
Robert Vassen

External Funding from



2016 - 2018