Title:
Alluminide coatings containing silicon and yttrium for superalloys and method of forming such coatings
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Aluminide coatings or layers (14) for jet engine components (10) and a process for forming aluminide layers (14) that include additions of silicon and yttrium. A superalloy substrate (12) of the component (10) is initially coated with a layer of a silicon-containing material. The substrate (12) is then aluminided, for example by a chemical vapor deposition process, and is exposed to a yttrium-containing material during the aluminiding process to form the aluminide layer (14) containing silicon and yttrium. A ceramic thermal barrier layer (24) of yttria-stabilized zirconia may be optionally applied over the aluminide layer (14). Another optional zirconia layer (26) maybe provided between the aluminide layer (14) and the ceramic thermal barrier layer (24). The present invention provides a silicon- and yttrium-containing aluminide layer (14) having improved durability, either as a standalone environmental coating or as a bond coat for a subsequently-applied ceramic thermal barrier layer (24).



Inventors:
Fairbourn, David C. (Sandy, UT, US)
Application Number:
10/943116
Publication Date:
03/16/2006
Filing Date:
09/16/2004
Assignee:
Aeromet Technologies, Inc. (Sandy, UT, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
428/629, 428/632, 428/652, 148/277
International Classes:
B32B15/20
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SAVAGE, JASON L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOOD, HERRON & EVANS, LLP (CINCINNATI, OH, US)
Claims:
Having described the invention, what is claimed is:

1. A jet engine component having a working surface exposed to the environment when in service, the jet engine component consisting essentially of: a substrate of a nickel-based superalloy material; and an aluminide layer including silicon and yttrium, the aluminide layer defining the working surface of the jet engine component.

2. The jet engine component of claim 1 wherein yttrium is distributed with a uniform concentration through the aluminide layer.

3. The jet engine component of claim 1 wherein yttrium has a concentration gradient in the aluminide layer.

4. The jet engine component of claim 3 wherein a concentration of yttrium in the aluminide layer is greatest at the working surface.

5. The jet engine component of claim 1 wherein a concentration of yttrium in the aluminide layer is less than about 0.5 wt %.

6. A jet engine component comprising: a substrate comprising a nickel-based superalloy; an aluminide layer including silicon and yttrium and disposed on the substrate; and a zirconia layer disposed on the aluminide layer.

7. The jet engine component of claim 6 further comprising: a ceramic thermal barrier layer disposed on the zirconia layer.

8. The jet engine component of claim 7 wherein said ceramic thermal barrier layer comprises yttria-stabilized zirconia.

9. The jet engine component of claim 6 wherein said zirconia layer has a surface roughness effective to increase the surface area for the interface with the ceramic thermal barrier layer for promoting adhesion.

10. The jet engine component of claim 6 wherein the yttrium is distributed with a uniform concentration through the aluminide layer.

11. The jet engine component of claim 6 wherein the yttrium is distributed with a concentration gradient in the aluminide layer.

12. The jet engine component of claim 11 wherein a concentration of yttrium in the aluminide layer is greatest at an interface between the aluminide layer and the zirconia layer.

13. The jet engine component of claim 6 wherein a concentration of yttrium in the aluminide layer is less than about 0.5 wt %.

14. A deposition process comprising: applying a silicon-containing material to at least a portion of a surface of a jet engine component of a nickel-based superalloy; exposing the jet engine component with the silicon-containing material to a donor material including a metal to begin forming an aluminide layer including metal from the donor material; and exposing the thickening aluminide layer to a yttrium-containing material.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein at least the surface portion with the silicon-containing material is not exposed to the yttrium-containing material during an initial portion of the exposure time.

16. The method of claim 14 further comprising: after the intermetallic layer is formed, forming a zirconia layer on at least the surface portion with the silicon-containing material.

17. The method of claim 16 further comprising: forming a ceramic thermal barrier layer on the zirconia layer.

18. The method of claim 16 wherein forming the zirconia layer further comprises: depositing a zirconium layer on the surface portion; and converting the zirconium layer to zirconia.

19. The method of claim 18 wherein the zirconium layer is deposited while the metal component is in the deposition environment.

20. The method of claim 18 wherein the zirconium layer is deposited at a deposition rate effective to provide surface texturing.

21. The method of claim 20 further comprising: forming a ceramic thermal barrier layer on the textured surface of the zirconia layer, the surface texturing enhancing the adhesion of the ceramic thermal barrier layer to the jet engine component.

22. The method of claim 14 further comprising: forming a ceramic thermal barrier layer on the aluminide layer.

23. The method of claim 14 further comprising: heating the jet engine component at a temperature sufficient to diffuse yttrium from the yttrium-containing material into the aluminide layer.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to formation of an intermetallic layer on a metal component and, more particularly, to formation of an intermetallic layer on an airflow surface of a jet engine metal component.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Intermetallic layers are often applied to a surface of a metal component for protecting the underlying metal substrate of the component and thereby extending its useful life during operation. For example, the aerospace industry coats many components having airflow surfaces in a jet engine, like turbine blades, vanes, and nozzle guides, with an aluminide layer to protect the underlying base metal from high temperature oxidation and corrosion.

A ceramic thermal barrier coating may be applied over the aluminide layer to insulate the jet engine component from combustion and exhaust gases, permitting the combustion and exhaust gases from the engine to be hotter than would otherwise be possible with an aluminide layer alone. Increasing the temperature of the combustion and exhaust gases improves the efficiency of operation of the jet engine.

However, such protective ceramic thermal barrier coatings may not adhere well directly to the superalloys commonly used to form jet engine components and, while in service, tend to spall.

To improve adhesion and thereby provide resistance to spallation, a bond layer may be applied to the jet engine component before the ceramic thermal barrier coating is applied. Intermetallic aluminides, like platinum aluminide, are common examples of such bond coatings that have been in use for many years. However, platinum aluminides are expensive to produce, which contributes to increasing the cost of jet engine components and the cost of refurbishing used jet engine components.

Accordingly, there is a need for an aluminide coating competitive in performance with platinum aluminide and less expensive to produce than platinum aluminide.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

In one embodiment of the present invention, a jet engine component consists essentially of a substrate of a nickel-based superalloy material and an aluminide layer including silicon and yttrium, in which the aluminide layer defines a working surface exposed to the environment when the jet engine component in service.

In another embodiment of the invention, a jet engine component comprises an aluminide layer including silicon and yttrium and disposed on the substrate of a nickel-based superalloy, and a zirconia layer disposed on the aluminide layer. The jet engine component may further include a ceramic thermal barrier layer disposed on the zirconia layer.

In another aspect of the invention, a deposition process comprises applying a silicon-containing material to at least a portion of a surface of a jet engine component formed of a superalloy and exposing the jet engine component with the silicon-containing material to a donor material including a metal to begin forming an aluminide layer including metal from the donor material. The deposition process further includes exposing the thickening aluminide layer to a yttrium-containing material.

By virtue of the foregoing, there is provided an improved environmental coating, bond coat, and method of forming such coatings that include an aluminide layer containing minor concentrations of silicon and yttrium. The aluminide coating of the invention is competitive in performance with platinum aluminide and less expensive to produce than platinum aluminide.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention shall be made apparent from the accompanying drawings and description thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate an embodiment of the invention and, together with a general description of the invention given above, and the detailed description of the embodiment given below, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of a coated jet engine component of the invention;

FIG. 1A is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of a coated jet engine component similar to FIG. 1;

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view of the coated jet engine component of FIG. 1 coated with a ceramic thermal barrier coating;

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of a coated jet engine component in accordance with another alternative embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3A is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of a coated jet engine component in accordance with yet another alternative embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a schematic view showing jet engine components, such as that from FIG. 1 or FIG. 1A, in a deposition environment of a simple CVD deposition system for purposes of explaining the principles of the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is a schematic view showing jet engine components, such as that from FIGS. 3 and 3A, in a deposition environment of a simple CVD deposition system similar to FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIG. 1, a detailed view of a portion of a much larger jet engine component, generally indicated by reference numeral 10, is shown. The jet engine component 10 includes a metallic substrate 12 and an aluminide layer 14 coating an original surface 16 of the substrate 12. The metallic substrate 12 is made of any nickel-, cobalt-, or iron-based high temperature superalloy from which such jet engine components 10 are commonly made. For example, the substrate 12 may be the nickel-based superalloy Inconel 795 Mod5 A. The present invention is not intended to be limited to any particular jet engine component 10, which may be a turbine blade, a vane, a nozzle guide, or any other part requiring protection from high temperature oxidation and corrosion while operating in a jet engine. The substrate 12 may be masked to define areas across which the aluminide layer 14 is absent.

In this specific embodiment of the present invention, aluminide layer 14 operates as an environmental coating having a working surface 18 exposed to the atmosphere with the jet engine component 10 in service. The general composition of aluminide layer 14 is a chrome aluminide containing minor concentrations of silicon and a minor content of yttrium. The concentration of silicon in the aluminide layer 14 may be, for example, about 0.5 wt %. The concentration of yttrium in the aluminide layer 14 may be, for example, in a range of parts per million to less than about 0.5 wt %.

Aluminide layer 14 may be formed by coating the substrate 12 with a layer of a silicon-containing material and placing it into a chemical vapor deposition environment suitable for forming an aluminide layer on jet engine component 10. An exemplary procedure for coating jet engine components with a silicon-coating material prior to aluminiding is described in commonly-owned U.S. Pat. No. 6,605,161, issued on Aug. 12, 2003. After the growth of aluminide layer 14 is initiated, the deposition environment is modified to include a vapor of a yttrium-containing material. An exemplary method for introducing additional elements from a separate receptacle to a main reaction chamber defining the bulk of the chemical vapor deposition environment is described in commonly-owned U.S. application Ser. No. 10/613,620, entitled “Simple Chemical Vapor Deposition System and Methods for Depositing Multiple-metal Aluminide Coatings.” When the vapor of the yttrium-containing material is proximate to the jet engine component 10, atoms of the yttrium-containing material are incorporated into the thickening aluminide layer 14. Preferably, the exposure to the yttrium-containing material is limited to the latter 25% of the total deposition time for aluminide layer 14 and yttrium atoms diffuse from the deposition environment into aluminide layer 14 to provide a concentration gradient having a peak concentration near the working surface 18. Alternatively, the yttrium may be distributed with a uniform concentration through the aluminide layer 14. An additional post-deposition heat treatment may be required to diffuse the yttrium into aluminide layer 14.

The presence of silicon in the aluminide layer 14 permits a desired thickness of layer 14 to be formed in a reduced period of time as compared to a conventional deposition process. Alternatively, a thicker aluminide layer 14 may advantageously be formed where the cycle time is not substantially reduced with a pre-coated component 10 as compared to another component that was not pre-coated. Yttrium operates as a getter for the impurity or tramp element sulfur in the aluminide layer 14, which originates from the donor material for forming the aluminide layer 14. The gettering of sulfur by the yttrium is believed to reduce the likelihood that the aluminide layer 14 will spall.

With reference to FIG. 1A in which like reference numerals refer to like features in FIG. 1, aluminide layer 14 may partially diffuse into the substrate 12 beneath the original surface 16 of the substrate 12. The resulting aluminide layer 14 includes a diffusion region 20 that extends beneath the original surface 16 and an additive region 22 overlying the original surface 16 of substrate 12. The outermost boundary of additive region 22 defines the working surface 18 of aluminide layer 14 when the jet engine component 10 is in service. Additive region 22 is an alloy that includes a relatively high concentration of the donor metal aluminum and a concentration of a metal, for example nickel, from substrate 12 outwardly diffusing from component 10. By contrast, diffusion region 20 has a lower concentration of aluminum and a relatively high concentration of the metal of substrate 12.

With reference to FIG. 2 in which like reference numerals refer to like features in FIG. 1, aluminide layer 14 may operate as a bond coat covered by a relatively thick ceramic thermal barrier coating or layer 24 of yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ or Y2O3). Such thermal barrier coatings and methods for the application thereof are familiar to those of ordinary skill in the art. The YSZ layer 24 may be applied to the jet engine component 10 by electron beam physical vapor deposition in a different deposition environment from the process forming aluminide layer 14. When applied by this deposition technique, the YSZ layer 24 typically has a porous columnar microstructure with individual grains oriented substantially perpendicular to the original surface 16 of substrate 12. Of course, the YSZ layer 24 may be omitted if not required when the jet engine component 10 is in service.

With reference to FIG. 3 in which like reference numerals refer to like features in FIG. 1, a thin layer 26 of zirconia is provided between the aluminide layer 14 and the YSZ layer 24. The zirconia layer 26 operates to reduce the mismatch in atomic spacing between the aluminide layer 14 and the YSZ layer 24. The zirconia layer 26 may be formed before YSZ layer 24 is applied, during application of YSZ layer 24, or after YSZ layer 24 is formed by heating the jet engine component 10 in an oxidizing atmosphere at a suitable temperature. In one specific embodiment, zirconia layer 26 may be formed by depositing metallic zirconium on aluminide layer 14 and then heating jet engine component 10 in air at a temperature of about 1100° F. to about 1200° F. Alternatively, a metallic zirconium layer may be anodized to form the zirconia layer 26. The zirconium layer for forming zirconia layer 26 may be provided from an external receptacle 80 to a deposition environment suitable for growing the aluminide layer 14, as described below in the context of FIG. 5, or may be deposited in a different and distinct deposition environment from the aluminide layer 14.

As shown in FIG. 3A, the layer of metallic zirconium used to form the zirconia layer 26 may be deposited under conditions of rapid deposition so that the morphology of the parent zirconium layer is rough, rather than smooth. The rough zirconium layer is then transformed into zirconia. This roughening increases the effective surface area available for bonding with the YSZ layer 24, which operates to enhance the adhesion of the YSZ layer 24 to the aluminide layer 14.

With reference to FIG. 4, a CVD apparatus 40 suitable for use in the invention includes a main reaction chamber 42 enclosing an interior space 44 defining a deposition environment when purged of atmospheric gases, and evacuated. Inert gas, such as argon, is supplied from a gas supply 46 to the reaction chamber 42 through an inlet port 48 defined in the wall of chamber 42. An exhaust port 50 defined in the wall of the reaction chamber 42 is coupled with a vacuum pump 52 capable of evacuating the reaction chamber 42 to a vacuum pressure. One or more jet engine components 10 are introduced into the reaction chamber 42 and are situated away from a source of extrinsic metal, as explained below.

Positioned within the reaction chamber 42 is a mass or charge of a solid donor material 54, a mass or charge of an activator material 56 and several jet engine components 10. The jet engine components 10 are fabricated from a nickel-based superalloy material. Suitable solid donor materials 54 include alloys of chromium and aluminum, which are preferably low in sulfur content (<3 ppm sulfur). One suitable donor material 54 is 44 wt % aluminum and balance chromium. Appropriate activator materials 56 suitable for use in the invention include, but are not limited to, aluminum fluoride, aluminum chloride, ammonium fluoride, ammonium bifluoride, and ammonium chloride. The reaction chamber 42 is heated to a temperature effective to cause vaporization of the activator material 56, which promotes the release of a vapor phase reactant from the solid donor material 54. This vapor contains an extrinsic metal, typically aluminum, that contributes a first extrinsic metal for incorporation into aluminide layer 14 (FIG. 1) formed on component 10, as diagrammatically indicated by arrows 58. The first extrinsic metal is separate and distinct from the jet engine component 10.

With continued reference to FIG. 4, positioned outside the reaction chamber 42 is a receptacle 60 in which a second solid donor material 62 is provided. The solid donor material 62 furnishes a source of a second extrinsic metal separate and distinct from the jet engine component 10. The second extrinsic metal combines with the first extrinsic metal supplied from donor material 54 to form the aluminide layer 14 on the jet engine component 10. The receptacle 60 and a conduit 64 leading from the receptacle 60 to the reaction chamber 42 are heated with respective heaters 66, 68.

The second solid donor material 62 provided in receptacle 60 may be any solid yttrium-halogen Lewis acid, such as YCl3. The yttrium-halogen Lewis acid may be ACS grade or reagent grade chemical that is high in purity and substantially free of contaminants, such as sulfur. Upon heating, such yttrium-halogen Lewis acids convert from a dry solid form to a liquid form and, when the temperature of the receptacle 60 is further increased, convert from the liquid form to a vapor to provide the vapor phase reactant containing yttrium. The vapor phase reactant from solid donor material 62 is conveyed or transported through the conduit 64 to the main reaction chamber 42, as diagrammatically indicated by arrows 70. The rate at which the vapor phase reactant from solid donor material 62 is provided to the main reaction chamber 42 is regulated by controlling the temperature of the receptacle 60 with the power to heaters 66, 68. Of course, the delivery vapor phase reactant from solid donor material 62 may be discontinued by sufficiently reducing the temperature of the receptacle 60 or with a valve (not shown) controlling flow in conduit 64.

In use and with continued reference to FIG. 4, a silicon-containing inoculant is applied to the original surface 16 of substrate 12, preferably before jet engine component 10 is placed inside the main reaction chamber 42. The inoculant is applied as a liquid and then dried to form a coating. Suitable liquid forms of the inoculant may be a mono-, bis- or tri-functional silane material provided in a solution. One particularly suitable silane solution is an organofunctional silane such as BTSE 1,2 bis(triethoxysilyl) ethane dissolved in a mixture of water, acetic acid and denatured alcohol with a silane concentration between about 1% and 10%. Innoculants, like the silane solution, may be applied liberally by a brush, as if being painted, by dipping, by spraying, or by any other suitable conventional application technique.

The jet engine component 10 bearing the inoculant is then introduced into the main reaction chamber 42, a charge of the first donor material 54, and a charge of the activator material 56 are introduced into the reaction chamber 42, and a charge of the solid yttrium-halogen Lewis acid is introduced as the second donor material 62 into the receptacle 60. The receptacle 60 and the reaction chamber 42 are purged of atmospheric gases by repeatedly admitting an inert gas from inert gas supply 46 through inlet port 48 and evacuating through exhaust port 50 with vacuum pump 52.

The main reaction chamber 42 is heated to a temperature effective to release activator material 56, which interacts with first donor material 54 to release the first vapor phase reactant including metal from material 54. Aluminum present in the vapor phase reactant begins to form the silicon-containing aluminide layer 14 (FIG. 1) on the jet engine component 10. After the aluminide layer 14 begins to form, receptacle 60 is heated by heater 66 to a temperature effective to form a second vapor phase reactant from solid donor material 62, which is provided as a yttrium-containing vapor to the reaction chamber 42 through heated conduit 64. The yttrium is incorporated into the thickening aluminide layer 14. Persons of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that additional steps, such as soaks and cleaning cycles, may be involved in the coating process. The jet engine components 10 are removed from the reaction chamber 42 and, optionally, the YSZ layer 24 may be applied by a different process.

With reference to FIG. 5 in which like reference numerals refer to like features in FIG. 4, another receptacle 71 may be positioned outside the reaction chamber 42. Another solid donor material 72 provided in receptacle 71 furnishes a source of an extrinsic metal separate and distinct from the jet engine component 10 and separate and distinct from the yttrium-halogen Lewis acid comprising the second donor material 62 in receptacle 60. Depending upon the deposition process, this extrinsic metal from the donor material 72 may combine with the first extrinsic metal supplied from donor material 54, may combine with yttrium material supplied to the jet engine component 10 from the second donor material, or may deposit separately on the jet engine component 10. The receptacle 71 and a conduit 74 leading from the receptacle 71 to the reaction chamber 42 are heated with respective heaters 76, 78 in order to release the vapor phase reactant from the donor material 72 and supply the vapor phase reactant to the main reaction chamber 42.

The solid donor material 72 provided in receptacle 71 may be any solid Lewis acid, such as AlCl3, CoCl4, CrCl3, CrF3, FeCl3, HfCl3, IrCl3, PtCl4, RhCl3, RuCl3, TiCl4, ZrCl4, and ZrF4. The Lewis acid may be ACS grade or reagent grade chemical that is high in purity and substantially free of contaminants, such as sulfur. Upon heating, such Lewis acids convert from a dry solid form to a liquid form and, when the temperature of the receptacle 71 is further increased, convert from the liquid form to a vapor to provide the vapor phase reactant containing the associated extrinsic metal. The vapor phase reactant from solid donor material 72 is conveyed or transported through the conduit 74 to the main reaction chamber 42, as diagrammatically indicated by arrows 80. The rate at which the vapor phase reactant from solid donor material 72 is provided to the main reaction chamber 42 is regulated by controlling the temperature of the receptacle 71 with variations in the power supplied to heaters 76, 78. Of course, the delivery of the vapor phase reactant from solid donor material 72 may be discontinued by sufficiently reducing the temperature of the receptacle 71 to halt vaporization or with a valve (not shown) controlling flow through conduit 74.

The vapor phase reactants from receptacles 60 and 72 are typically provided separately to the main reaction chamber 42, so that the extrinsic metals from solid donor materials 62, 72 are not co-deposited on jet engine component 10. The separate control is achievable by, for example, lowering the temperature of each receptacle 60, 71, as required, so that the corresponding vapor phase reactant is not produced and, hence, not supplied to the main reaction chamber 42. In addition, the temperature of the main reaction chamber 42 may be controlled so that the vapor phase reactant from donor material 54 is controllably present or absent while one or both of the receptacles 60, 71 supplies the corresponding vapor phase reactant to the main reaction chamber 42. These capabilities permit a vapor phase reactant of, for example, zirconium to be independently supplied from receptacle 71 to the main reaction chamber 42 and to, for example, deposit over the aluminide layer 14 (FIG. 3) previously formed on component 10 by a deposition process inside the main reaction chamber 42. Such a process may be used, as described above, for forming the zirconium layer that ultimately forms the zirconia layer 26 (FIG. 3).

While the present invention has been illustrated by the description of an embodiment thereof and specific examples, and while the embodiment has been described in considerable detail, it is not intended to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. The invention in its broader aspects is therefore not limited to the specific details, representative apparatus and methods and illustrative examples shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departing from the scope or spirit of applicant's general inventive concept.