The most prominent space research agency – National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has shown interest in a thermal spray coating technology developed by an Indian researcher Dr. Sailesh Tailor from Rajasthan.
Dr Sailesh Tailor, a Rajasthan-based researcher was working as chief scientist at Metallizing Equipment Company (MEC) when he developed a control segment system called Yttria Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) a plasma spray coating technology which is thermal coats substances with cost that is 50% less. The technology is used for gas turbine engines in spacecraft, but it came into light when his research paper was published in the Ceramics International and Thermal Spray Bulletin journal. The technology caught attention of NASA’s research scientist James L Smialek who then wrote to Dr Tailor expressing his interest in the thermal spray coating technology. After the approach, Dr Tailor shared his research papers with the NASA scientist who had written to him in this regard.
Currently, the vertical cracks (segments) in coating are developed by using very expensive processes, which includes coating deposition process. Cracking is beneficial for gas turbine engine application used by aircrafts, but the method is very expensive and also since it relies on deposition process, it is not exactly controllable. However, the research made by Dr Tailor “an inexpensive solution for the superior survival of current YSZ thermal barrier coatings produced by atmospheric plasma sprayed (APS) technique, and has a potential of wider industrial/strategic acceptability.” This technology proposal was so interesting that it caught the attention of NASA.
The new technology has an advantage over current, costly techniques such as SPS or EB- PVD deposited coatings and if the research process can be industrially adopted in making a strain-tolerant coating then it will definitely be more economical compared to its expensive counter-parts techniques. After this method came into light, it was reviewed by scientists of India’s leading research organisations – the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and they too are equally impressed. This finding could prove to be revolutionary in space research.