TU Delft coordinating European research on self-healing thermal barrier coatings

logo tudResearchers of TU Delft coordinate a large European research project on self-healing thermal barrier coatings (TBCs). These ceramic coatings enhance the gas turbine engine efficiency by allowing higher operation temperatures, saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions. By using self-healing thermal barrier coatings, small cracks in the coating are repaired, thereby prolonging the lifetime of the coatings by 20-25% and significantly reducing the costs of maintainance.

Extending component lifetime

Ceramic thermal barrier coatings are applied on the most critical parts of engines, allowing operation beyond the melting point of the structural components and, simultaneously, extending the lifetime of these components. Increased combustion temperatures lead to a more efficient combustion, thereby saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions. These TBCs are used in aero-engine, but also in engines used for propulsion of ships, submarines, and for generation of electrical power.

Unique coating

In the SAMBA project TU Delft and her partners develop a unique, self-healing thermal barrier coating to prolong the lifetime of TBCs in engines. The new ceramic coating exists of a layer of yttria-stabilized zirconia, including small particles consisting of molybdenum and silicon. Addition of these small particles allows for self-repair of the coating. Upon fracture, the silicon is oxidized and fills the crack with silicon oxide. Subsequently, the silicon oxide reacts with the ceramic coating layer and creates a stable ‘fill’ of the crack.


In the project, industry and universities work together on the development and improvement of self-healing thermal barrier coatings (SAMBA). Researchers of the department of Materials Science and Engineering of the TU Delft coordinate the research project and together with researchers of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering perform a substantial part of the research. Partners in this project include Forschungszentrum Julich, University of Manchester, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, Research Center RSE in Italy, Flame Spray Technologies in Duiven, the Netherlands, Alstom Switserland and GKN Aerospace in Sweden. The SAMBA project is funded by the European Union and is part of the 7th Framework Programme. The total funding is 3.2 million euros.

From TU Delft

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