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These compositions offer thermal stability greater than that of yttria-stabilized zirconia.

Zirconia stabilized with both scandia and yttria in suitable proportions has shown promise of being a superior thermal-barrier coating (TBC) material, relative to zirconia stabilized with yttria only. More specifically, a range of compositions in the zirconia/scandia/yttria material system has been found to afford increased resistance to deleterious phase transformations at temperatures high enough to cause deterioration of yttria-stabilized zirconia.

Yttria-stabilized zirconia TBCs have been applied to metallic substrates in gas turbine and jet engines to protect the substrates against high operating temperatures. These coatings have porous and microcracked structures, which can accommodate strains induced by thermal-expansion mismatch and thermal shock. The longevity of such a coating depends upon yttria as a stabilizing additive that helps to maintain the zirconia in an yttria-rich, so-called "non-transformable" tetragonal crystallographic phase, thus preventing transformation to the monoclinic phase with an associated deleterious volume change. However, at a temperature greater than about 1,200 °C, there is sufficient atomic mobility that the equilibrium, transformable zirconia phase is formed. Upon subsequent cooling, this phase transforms to the monoclinic phase, with an associated volume change that adversely affects the integrity of the coating.

Recently, scandia was identified as a stabilizer that could be used instead of, or in addition to, yttria. Of particular interest are scandia-and-yttria-stabilized zirconia (SYSZ) compositions of about 6 mole percent scandia and 1 mole percent yttria, which have been found to exhibit remarkable phase stability at a temperature of 1,400 °C in simple aging tests. Unfortunately, scandia is expensive, so that the problem becomes one of determining whether there are compositions with smaller proportions of scandia that afford the required high-temperature stability. In an attempt to solve this problem, experiments were performed on specimens made with reduced proportions of scandia. The criterion used to judge these specimens was whether they retained the "non-transformable" tetragonal phase after a severe heat treatment of 140 hours at 1,400 °C. On the basis of this criterion and limited data, the locus of favored compositions is specified as follows: mole percent of yttria = 8.55 – 1.5´ (mole percent of scandia) between and near the compositional end points of

  • 4.9 mole percent scandia and 1.2 mole percent yttria and
  • 3.7 mole percent scandia and 3.0mole percent yttria.

In addition, it appears that a composition of ≈3 mole percent scandia and ≈2.5 mole percent yttria may confer the desired phase stability at 1,400 °C.

This work was done by Derek Mess of Cambridge Microtech, Inc., for Glenn Research Center. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at under the Materials category.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to

NASA Glenn Research Center
Commercial Technology Office
Attn: Steve Fedor
Mail Stop 4–8
21000 Brookpark Road
Ohio 44135.

Refer to LEW-16789.

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