The accurate real-time monitoring of surface or internal temperatures of thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) in hostile environments presents significant benefits to the efficient and safe operation of gas turbines. A new method for fabricating high-temperature K-type thermocouple sensors on gas turbine engines using coaxial laser cladding technology has been developed. The deposition of the thermocouple sensors was optimized to provide minimal intrusive features to the TBC, which is beneficial for the operational reliability of the protective coatings. Notably, this avoids a melt pool on the TBC surface. Sensors were deposited onto standard yttria-stabilized zirconia (7–8 wt % YSZ) coated substrates; subsequently, they were embedded with second YSZ layers by the Atmospheric Plasma Spray (APS) process. Morphology of cladded thermocouples before and after embedding was optimized in terms of topography and internal homogeneity, respectively. The dimensions of the cladded thermocouple were in the order of 200 microns in thickness and width. The thermal and electrical response of the cladded thermocouple was tested before and after embedding in temperatures ranging from ambient to approximately 450 °C in a furnace. Seebeck coefficients of bared and embedded thermocouples were also calculated correspondingly, and the results were compared to that of a commercial standard K-type thermocouple, which demonstrates that laser cladding is a prospective technology for manufacturing microsensors on the surface of or even embedded into functional coatings.
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