The presence of defects such as voids, inter-lamellar porosities or cracks causes a decrease in the effective thermal conductivity of plasma-sprayed coatings as well as a decrease in corresponding mechanical properties, such as the Young’s modulus. In general, the effective properties of thermal spray coatings are thus very different from that of bulk materials and thus have to be quantified to validate in service performances. A complementary approach allowing us to understand the relationships between the microstructure of a coating and its macro-properties is that of Finite Element Modeling (FEM). The case of composite coatings is more complicated still, due to the presence of different materials. In the present study, thermo-mechanical properties of a plasma-sprayed composite coating were estimated by numerical modeling based on FEM. The method applied uses directly cross-sectional micrographs without simplification, using a one-cell per pixel approach. Characteristics such as the thermal conductivity, the Young’s modulus, the Poisson’s ratio and the dilatation coefficient were considered. The example selected was an AlSi/polyester coating used as an abradable seal in the aerospace industry.
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