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- The objective of this phase 1 project was to develop a ceramic composite with superior fracture toughness and high strength, based on combining two toughness inducing materials: zirconia for transformation toughening and SiC whiskers for reinforcement, in a controlled microstructure alumina matrix. The controlled matrix microstructure is obtained by controlling the nucleation frequency of the alumina gel with seeds (submicron alpha-alumina). The results demonstrate the technical feasibility of producing superior binary composites (Al2O3-ZrO2) and tertiary composites (Al2O3-ZrO2-SiC). Thirty-two composites were prepared, consolidated, and fracture toughness tested. Statistical analysis of the results showed that: (1) the SiC type is the key statistically significant factor for increased toughness; (2) sol-gel processing with a-alumina seed had a statistically significant effect on increasing toughness of the binary and tertiary composites compared to the corresponding mixed powder processing; and (3) ZrO2 content within the range investigated had a minor effect. Binary composites with an average critical fracture toughness of 6.6MPam sup 1/2, were obtained. Tertiary composites with critical fracture toughness in the range of 9.3 to 10.1 MPam sup 1/2 were obtained. Results indicate that these composites are superior to zirconia toughened alumina and SiC whisker reinforced alumina ceramic composites produced by conventional techniques with similar composition from published data.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19900000978.
Accession ID: 90N10294.
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