Thin film sensor techniques for the instrumentation of ceramic/metal interfaces in next generation aero gas turbines
The growth of thrust and improved aeroengine efficiency has been gained by increased temperatures throughout the engine. This has been achieved by improved material technology and the continuous cooling of components complemented by the addition of thermal barrier coatings (TBC) to turbine and combustion chamber components. The aggressive nature of the application process of the TBC has previously made the measurement of metal surface temperature and strain exceedingly difficult on components to which it is applied. In the present study magnetron sputter-deposited thin film sensor techniques have been developed specifically for compressor and turbine applications of noble metal thermocouples and strain gauges. The deposition, patterning and evaluation of reactively sputtered aluminium oxide, type R platinum thermocouples as well as PdCr and PtW dynamic strain gauges is reported. A sputtered NiCoCrAlY coating has been developed to replace the vacuum plasma spray process currently used in the TBC system. The most favourable location for the thin film sensor is at the metal/ceramic interface of the TBC system. However, in order to protect the sensor from the aggressive TBC process, the sensor has been deposited in a novel installation between two layers of NiCoCrAlY bond coat. Several trials have been performed to fabricate this package on turbine blade material substrates. This work has demonstrated that the proposed sensor structure is feasible. However there are problems with delamination due to contamination and residual stress and with poor electrical insulation and these have limited the high temperature testing that could be performed. The novel techniques developed are already being utilised in measurement applications on components without TBCs. This work has been performed in an industrial context. The extensive project and risk management activities are reported.