Gas turbine engines remain an integral part of providing the world’s propulsion and power generation needs. The continued use of gas turbines requires increased temperature operation to reach higher efficiencies and the implementation of alternative fuels for a lower net-carbon footprint. This necessitates evaluation of the material coatings used to shield the hot section components of gas turbines in these new extreme environments in order to understand how material degradation mechanisms change. Recently, the US Navy has sought to reduce its use of fossil fuels by implementing a blended hydroprocessed renewable diesel (HRD) derived from algae in its fleet. To evaluate the material degradation in this alternative environment, metal alloys are exposed in a simulated combustion environment using this blended fuel or the traditional diesel-like fuel. Evaluation of the metal alloys showed the development of thick, porous scales with a large depletion of aluminum for the blend fuel test. A mechanism linking an increased solubility of the scale to the blend fuel test environment will be discussed.
For power generation applications, Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plants can provide electricity with 45% efficiency and full carbon capture by using a synthetic gas (syngas) derived from coal, biomass, or another carbon feedstock. However, the combustion of syngas is known to cause high water vapor content levels in the exhaust stream with unknown material consequences. To evaluate the effect of increased humidity, air-plasma sprayed (APS), yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) is thermally aged in an environment with and without humidity. An enhanced destabilization of the parent phase by humid aging is revealed by x-ray diffraction (XRD) and Raman spectroscopy. Microstructural analysis by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning-TEM (STEM) indicate an enhanced coarsening of the domain structure of the YSZ in the humid environment. The enhanced destabilization and coarsening in the humid aging environment is explained mechanistically by water-derived species being incorporated into the YSZ structure and altering the anion sublattice. The characterization of the metal alloy and ceramic coatings exposed in these alternative environments allows for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind the material evolution in these environments.