Dr Christopher Pilgrim
EngD student 2009-2013
University: Imperial College London
Sponsoring company: Sensor Coating Systems
EngD research: Luminescence for the non-destructive evaluation of thermal barrier coatings
Thermal barrier coatings are used in gas turbines to protect the components from the extreme gas temperatures. The coating materials can be doped with rare earth ions to make them luminescent enabling a sensing capability without detriment to their primary function. In my project, I investigated how the luminescence can be used to detect the erosion of the coating or the maximum exposure temperature. I demonstrated that the erosion damage can be detected to a micrometre level using standard optical equipment. Also, the luminescence could be used to measure the past exposure temperature of the coating, which is of great interest for predictive maintenance scheduling.
Current role: Development Engineer, Sensor Coating Systems
After completing my project I continued to work with my sponsor company, Sensor Coating Systems (SCS). At SCS, we are developing a new technology, called Thermal History Paints and Coatings, which can accurately measure the temperature of inaccessible components. The development continues from work conducted in my EngD project. My primary responsibility is to fully commercialise the technology which I investigated during my project. Therefore, I am in the fortunate position of seeing my research through to industrial implementation. The technical knowledge I gained during the project was instrumental in enabling me to do this job and the other knowledge and skills I developed have helped me gain a greater commercial awareness.