Kevin Luo

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Andrew C Nix

Committee Co-Chair

Bruce S Kang

Committee Member

Edward M Sabolsky


Coal synthesis gas (syngas) can introduce contaminants into the flow of an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) industrial gas turbine which can form molten deposits onto components of the first stage of a turbine. Research is being conducted at West Virginia University (WVU) to study the effects of particulate deposition on thermal barrier coatings (TBC) employed on the airfoils of an IGCC turbine hot section. WVU had been working with U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to simulate deposition on the pressure side of an IGCC turbine first stage vane to study the effects on film cooling. To simulate the particulate deposition, TBC coated, angled film-cooled test articles were subjected to accelerated deposition injected into the flow of a combustor facility with a pressure of approximately 4 atm and a gas temperature of 1560 K. The particle characteristics between engine conditions and laboratory are matched using the Stokes number and particulate loading.;To investigate the degradation on the TBC from the particulate deposition, non-destructive evaluations were performed using a load-based multiple-partial unloading micro-indentation technique and were followed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) evaluation and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) examinations. The micro-indentation technique used in the study was developed by Kang et al. and can quantitatively evaluate the mechanical properties of materials. The indentation results found that the Young's Modulus of the ceramic top coat is higher in areas with deposition formation due to the penetration of the fly ash. The increase in the modulus of elasticity has been shown to result in a reduction of strain tolerance of the 7% yttria-stabilized zirconia (7YSZ) TBC coatings. The increase in the Young's modulus of the ceramic top coat is due to the stiffening of the YSZ columnar microstructure from the cooled particulate fly ash. SEM evaluation was used to evaluate the microstructure of the layers within the TBC system, and the SEM micrographs showed that the TBC/fly ash deposition interaction zone made the YSZ coating more susceptible to delamination and promoted a dissolution-reprecipitation mechanism that changes the YSZ morphology and composition. EDS examination provided elemental maps which showed a shallow infiltration depth of the fly ash deposits and an elemental distribution spectrum analysis showed yttria migration from the YSZ top coating into the molten deposition. This preliminary work should lead to future studies in gas turbine material coating systems and their interaction with simulated fly ash and potentially CMAS or volcanic ash deposition.