Observations of Ferroelastic Switching by Raman Spectroscopy
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Thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) have become an important part of turbine technology by providing thermal protection to the underlying metallic components. These coatings are typically made from a zirconia-based ceramics which have a low thermal conductivity and thermal expansion coefficients similar to those of the superalloys. Early failure in these coatings is most often due to foreign object damage and erosion resulting in delamination and spallation. To protect against these types of failure, new materials with increased toughness are needed. There are two main toughening mechanisms in ceramics: transformation toughening, which is limited to low temperature applications and ferroelastic toughening which is accessible at all temperatures. Ferroelastic toughening occurs when the c-axis of the tetragonal grain undergoes reorientation under the application of an external stress. In this study, ferroelastic toughening is examined by Raman spectroscopy. It is shown that by using polarized confocal Raman spectroscopy one can not only observed the ferroelastic process, but also measure the parameters that control the increase in toughness observed. Ferroelastic toughening was observed in two ways in the 18mol% ceria stabilized zirconia (18CSZ) samples studied here. Samples were either exposed to indentation damage or uniaxial loading. In both of these cases maps of the ceramic surface were taken using Raman spectroscopy following loading and the relative intensities of the tetragonal peaks were analyzed. The resulting intensity profiles were used to monitor the reorientation of domains corresponding to ferroelastic toughening. Changes in domain orientation were observed that corresponded to the reorientation of domains along cracks as well as on a larger scale along those cracks. Domain reorientation was also observed under uniaxial loading and the stresses required for domain formation and movement were measured.
Bolon, Amy Marie (2011). Observations of Ferroelastic Switching by Raman Spectroscopy. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from