Thermal barrier coatings (TBC's) for high heat flux thrust chambers

Christopher M Bradley, University of Texas at El Paso


The last 30 years materials engineers have been under continual pressure to develop materials with a greater temperature potential or to produce configurations that can be effectively cooled or otherwise protected at elevated temperature conditions. Turbines and thrust chambers produce some of the harshest service conditions for materials which lead to the challenges engineers face in order to increase the efficiencies of current technologies due to the energy crisis that the world is facing. The key tasks for the future of gas turbines are to increase overall efficiencies to meet energy demands of a growing world population and reduce the harmful emissions to protect the environment. Airfoils or blades tend to be the limiting factor when it comes to the performance of the turbine because of their complex design making them difficult to cool as well as limitations of their thermal properties. Key tasks for space transportation it to lower costs while increasing operational efficiency and reliability of our space launchers. The important factor to take into consideration is the rocket nozzle design. The design of the rocket nozzle or thrust chamber has to take into account many constraints including external loads, heat transfer, transients, and the fluid dynamics of expanded hot gases. Turbine engines can have increased efficiencies if the inlet temperature for combustion is higher, increased compressor capacity and lighter weight materials. In order to push for higher temperatures, engineers need to come up with a way to compensate for increased temperatures because material systems that are being used are either at or near their useful properties limit. ^ Before thermal barrier coatings were applied to hot-section components, material alloy systems were able to withstand the service conditions necessary. But, with the increased demand for performance, higher temperatures and pressures have become too much for those alloy systems. Controlled chemistry of hot-section components has become critical, but at the same time the service conditions have put our best alloy systems to their limits. As a result, implementation of cooling holes and thermal barrier coatings are new advances in hot-section technologies now looked at for modifications to reach higher temperature applications. Current thermal barrier coatings used in today's turbine applications is known as 8%yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) and there are no coatings for current thrust chambers. Current research is looking at the applicability of 8%yttria-stabilized hafnia (YSH) for turbine applications and the implementation of 8%YSZ onto thrust chambers. This study intends to determine if the use of thermal barrier coatings are applicable for high heat flux thrust chambers using industrial YSZ will be advantageous for improvements in efficiency, thrust and longer service life by allowing the thrust chambers to be used more than once.^

Subject Area

Engineering, Mechanical|Energy|Engineering, Materials Science

Recommended Citation

Bradley, Christopher M, "Thermal barrier coatings (TBC's) for high heat flux thrust chambers" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3567400.