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Revisiting the Birth of 7YSZ Thermal Barrier Coatings: Stephan Stecura

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH 44135, USA
Vantage Partners, LLC, Brook Park, OH 44142, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Dr. Stephan Stecura emigrated to the US from Ukraine, worked on high temperature materials at NASA Glenn from about 1966, retired in 1994, and lives in the greater Cleveland area. He was well known for his discerning, enigmatic approach to research and the smile on his face and treasure troves of original data tucked away in notebooks. The authors are fortunate to have witnessed and studied his successes.
Coatings 2018, 8(7), 255;
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 11 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 22 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermal Barrier Coatings)
PDF [566 KB, uploaded 22 July 2018]


Thermal barrier coatings are widely used in all turbine engines, typically using a 7 wt.% Y2O3–ZrO2 formulation. Extensive research and development over many decades have refined the processing and structure of these coatings for increased durability and reliability. New compositions demonstrate some unique advantages and are gaining in application. However, the “7YSZ” (7 wt.% yttria stabilized zirconia) formulation predominates and is still in widespread use. This special composition has been universally found to produce nanoscale precipitates of metastable t’ tetragonal phase, giving rise to a unique toughening mechanism via ferro-elastic switching under stress. This note recalls the original study that identified superior properties of 6–8 wt.% yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) plasma sprayed thermal barrier coatings, published in 1978. The impact of this discovery, arguably, continues in some form to this day. At one point, 7YSZ thermal barrier coatings were used in every new aircraft and ground power turbine engine produced worldwide. 7YSZ is a tribute to its inventor, Dr. Stephan Stecura, NASA retiree. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermal barrier coatings; 7YSZ; turbine blades thermal barrier coatings; 7YSZ; turbine blades

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Smialek, J.L.; Miller, R.A. Revisiting the Birth of 7YSZ Thermal Barrier Coatings: Stephan Stecura . Coatings 2018, 8, 255.

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