Engineered Alumina / Silicon Carbide Laminated Composites

De Genua, Francesca (2014) Engineered Alumina / Silicon Carbide Laminated Composites. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF (PhD Thesis of DE GENUA FRANCESCA) - Doctoral Thesis


High-melting temperature oxides, carbides and nitrides are superior in hardness and strength to metals, especially in severe conditions. However, the extensive use of such ceramics in structural engineering applications often encountered critical problems due to their lack of damage tolerance and to the limited mechanical reliability. Several ceramic composites and, in particular, laminated structures have been developed in recent years to enhance strength, toughness and to improve flaw tolerance. Significant strength increase and improved mechanical reliability, in terms of Weibull modulus or minimum threshold failure stress, can be achieved by the engineering of the critical surface region in the ceramic component. Such effect can be realized by using a laminated composite structure with tailored sub-surface insertion of layers with different composition. Such laminate is able to develop, upon co-sintering, a spatial variation of residual stress with maximum compression at specific depth from the surface due to the differences in thermal expansion coefficient of the constituting layers. In the present work silicon carbide has been selected as second phase to graduate the thermal expansion coefficient of alumina due to its relatively low specific density that could allow the production of lighter components with improved mechanical performance, also for high temperature applications. Ceramic laminates with strong interfaces composed of Al2O3/SiC composite layers were produced by pressureless sintering or Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) of green layers stacks prepared by tape casting water-based suspensions. Monolithic composites containing up to 30 vol% silicon carbide were fabricated and thoroughly characterized. Five engineered ceramic laminates with peculiar layers combination that is able to promote the stable growth of surface defects before final failure were also designed and produced. By changing the composition of the stacked laminae and the architecture of the laminate, tailored residual stress profile and T-curve were generated after co-sintering and successive cooling in each multilayer. The results of the mechanical characterization show that the engineered laminates are sensibly stronger than parent monolithic composite ceramic and exhibit surface damage insensitivity, according to the design. Such shielding effect is especially observed when macroscopic cracks are introduced by high load Vickers indentations. Some designed multilayers exhibit reduced strength scatter and higher Weibull modulus, which implies superior mechanical reliability. Fractographic observations on fracture surfaces of the engineered laminates show a graceful crack propagation within the surface layers in residual compressive stress which can be attributed to the stable growth of superficial cracks before final failure as it is predicted by the apparent fracture toughness curve. Such fracture behaviour is considered to be responsible for the peculiar surface damage insensitivity and the improved mechanical performance.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Materials Engineering (till the a.y. 2009-10, 25th cycle)
PhD Cycle:XXIV
Subjects:Area 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione > ING-IND/22 SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI
Uncontrolled Keywords:Laminates, Alumina/silicon carbide composites, Spark Plasma Sintering, Reliability
Repository Staff approval on:15 May 2014 15:10

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