Thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) are ceramic coatings used in gas turbines to lower the base metal temperature. During operation, the TBC may fail through, for example, fatigue. In the present study, a TBC system deposited on a Ni-base alloy was tested in tensile bending fatigue. The TBC system was tested as-sprayed and oxidized and two load levels were used. After interrupting the tests, at 10000–50000 cycles, the TBC tested at the lower load had extensive delamination damage whereas the TBC tested at the higher load was relatively undamaged. At the higher load, the TBC formed vertical cracks which relieved the stresses in the TBC and retarded delamination damage. A finite element analysis was used to establish a likely vertical crack configuration (spacing and depth) and it could be confirmed that the corresponding stress drop in the TBC should prohibit delamination damage at the higher load.

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