The Improvement of Thermal and Mechanical Properties of La2Zr2O7-based Pyrochlores as High Temperature Thermal Barrier Coatings

  • Yanfei Wang

Student thesis: Phd


To fully exploit the strengths of La2Zr2O7 pyroclores and promote them as a next-generation thermal barrier coating (TBC), the improvements of their thermally insulating property and fracture toughness are studied in this thesis. A strong phonon scattering source, rattlers, is found in Y3+-doped La2Zr2O7 pyrochlores. Rattlers dramatically flatten k (thermal conductivity)-T curves, or even make k approach the amorphous limit. The presence of rattlers is strongly dependent on (1) oversized atomic cages that are formed in pyrochlores; and (2) the occupation of smaller guest ions in those oversized cages. To maximize the rattling effect, In3+/Sc3+ ions that are much smaller than Y3+ are introduced to the La2Zr2O7 lattice. As envisaged, the smaller ions in the oversized lattice voids make k glass-like at a much lower doping content. Nevertheless, they are still not effective in reducing the high temperature plateau kmin. Instead, oxygen vacancies are very effective in reducing kmin, because they generate an electrostatic repulsion force among cations surrounding them, resulting in stronger lattice anharmonicity and weaker bonds. The plateau kmin is reduced dramatically by the filling of the B-sites in La2Zr2O7 with a 21% larger (and 50% heavier) Ce4+ guest ion rather than a 96% heavier (but similar-sized) Hf4+ ion, suggesting that a large absolute size of substitutional atoms is more effective in reducing kmin than a heavy absolute mass. This is because: (1) kmin is proportional to (E/M)0.5 (where E is the elastic modulus and M is the average atomic mass); (2) a larger size of guest ions tends to produce a weaker ionic bond and consequently, a lower E; and (3) the changing extent of E by introducing larger guest ions is much greater than that of M induced by adding heavier ones. Lastly, the fracture toughness (KIc) has been increased by dispersing the tetragonal 3 mol% Y2O3-stabilized zirconia (t-3YSZ) particulates in the La2Zr2O7 (LZ) matrix. The tendency of the dispersive t-3YSZ second phases transforming to monoclinic (m) phases strongly depends on the volume fraction introduced. For samples made from equilibrium route, they are toughened by phase transformations within the dispersive t-3YSZ second phases and a crack shielding effect arising from the residual compressive stress within the LZ matrix. An anticipated increase of KIc from ferroelastic toughening together with the residual compressive stress toughening highlights a potential to improve coating durability by depositing t'-3YSZ/LZ composite TBCs by the non-equilibrium route.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPing Xiao (Supervisor)


  • Fracture toughness
  • Thermal conductivity
  • Thermal barrier coatings
  • Lanthanum zirconate

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