What Are Thermal Barrier Coatings (TBCs)?


If you have never heard of thermal barrier coatings, then you likely have little to no idea about the amazing benefits that they can provide. For anyone interested in learning more about the basics of thermal barrier coatings and the benefits they offer, you have come to the right place. 

In this article, we’ll tell you what a thermal barrier coating is, how incredibly beneficial it can be, and share a few specific uses of these coatings. Read on to learn everything you need to know and determine if using a thermal barrier coating is right for you. 


What is a Thermal Barrier Coating?

A thermal barrier coating is nothing more than a protective layer that helps to improve the performance and longevity of various materials. These coatings help to mitigate extreme temperature differences, reduce corrosion, and much more. Since they are able to offer these fantastic benefits and are relatively easy to apply, thermal barrier coatings have become common throughout many industries. 

Anatomy of a Thermal Barrier Coating

While it is easiest to think of a thermal barrier coating as a single protective layer, the reality is that these coatings consist of multiple layers, each of which plays a specific role in the coating’s functionality. The total number of layers in a thermal barrier coating can vary. However, it is safe to assume that nearly all thermal barrier coatings will have at least two layers. 

The first layer is known as the metallic bond coat. This layer is responsible for forming a strong attachment between the thermal barrier coating and the material it protects. The second layer is called the ceramic topcoat, which is responsible for providing the main benefits of thermal barrier coatings, including insulation, corrosion resistance, and general protection from the elements. 

Some thermal barrier coatings will include additional layers that lie between the bond coat and the topcoat. However, you can assume that nearly all coatings will include the two layers we described above at a minimum. 

Materials that Thermal Barrier Coatings Can Protect

Part of the reason that thermal barrier coatings have become so widespread is that they are incredibly versatile and can help protect many different kinds of materials. Though non-exhaustive, the list below indicates some of the many materials that a thermal barrier coating can protect:

  • Asphalt
  • Concrete
  • Glass
  • Masonry
  • Metal
  • Plastic


Since these materials are present in many different types of construction and in the manufacturing processes within many industries, the popularity of thermal barrier coatings has only grown over the years. The next section will help explain why that is the case by detailing more of the specific benefits that these coatings can afford. 

Benefits of Thermal Barrier Coatings

Thermal barrier coatings prove to be highly effective in multiple ways. Below are some of the top benefits that you can expect to experience if you choose to use a thermal barrier coating. 

Reduction of Thermal Energy Transfer

The most prominent benefit of a thermal barrier coating is its ability to reduce the transfer of thermal energy. This feature is most beneficial in situations that involve extreme temperature changes. 

For example, when applied to the exterior of a house, the thermal energy transfer reduction that a thermal barrier coating provides will have an insulating effect on the home. In this scenario, the coating drastically reduces the effect that extreme exterior temperature changes can have on the interior living spaces of your home. 

Similarly, the reduction in thermal energy transfer is also what allows these coatings to be beneficial to many manufacturing processes. During manufacturing, machinery can quickly become very hot as it operates. The thermal barrier coating reduces the effect of that heat increase, which allows the machinery to operate more efficiently and for longer. 

Reduced Corrosion

The protective elements of a thermal barrier coating also help to keep moisture out. By mitigating the effect of moisture, thermal barrier coatings can dramatically reduce the rate at which certain materials rust and corrode. 

Reducing corrosion helps to make certain materials, such as many types of metal, to remain intact for longer. This allows them to perform at full capacity for much longer than they would if they had no protection from the corrosive effects of moisture. 

Improved Energy Efficiency

Ultimately, the previous two benefits of thermal barrier coatings lead to this final advantage, by reducing corrosion and the negative effect of extreme temperature changes, thermal barrier coatings allow buildings and manufacturing facilities to become far more energy efficient. 

Energy efficiency is something we should all strive for, as it has various benefits for us and the planet. Not only does reducing energy use have a positive environmental impact, but it also helps to reduce your energy costs. Whether you have a single-family home, or you run an extensive manufacturing plant, lower energy costs will only benefit your bottom line. 

Uses of Thermal Barrier Coatings

Before we conclude, let’s illustrate some of the many ways that thermal barrier coatings help people achieve their goals in the real world. As mentioned previously. These coatings have a special place in many different industries. Below is a list of some of the most common applications for thermal barrier coatings:

  • Improving building envelop for residential and commercial buildings
  • Automotive manufacturing
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Marine applications
  • Shipping and transportation

Clearly, the impact of thermal barrier coatings has touched a wide range of industries. That broad use alone should be enough to convince you that using a thermal barrier coating is worth it. Using a thermal barrier coating will help manage extreme temperatures, enhance the longevity of materials, and make you more energy efficient, regardless of your industry. 

Get the Best Thermal Barrier Coating for You

While the benefits of thermal barrier coatings cannot be understated, not all thermal barrier coatings are equally capable of providing them. Instead, some thermal barrier coating products prove to have better performance capabilities than the competitors. 

At ThermaCote®, we supply top-of-the-line thermal barrier coatings to industry-leading professionals in many different fields. If you are interested in learning more about how ThermaCote® can benefit you, reach out today!