Chemistry Faculty Research


Correlating Electrical Resistance Change with Mechanical Damage in Woven SiC/SiC Composites: Experiment and Modeling

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Silicon carbide (SiC) fiber-reinforced SiC matrix composites are inherently multifunctional materials. In addition to their primary function as a structural material, the electric properties of the SiC/SiC composites could be used for the sensing and monitoring of in situ damage nucleation and evolution. To detect damage and use that information to further predict the useful life of a particular component, it is necessary to establish the relationship between damage and electrical resistance change. Here, two typical SiC/SiC composites, melt infiltrated (MI), and chemical vapor infiltrated (CVI) woven SiC/SiC composites, were tested to establish the relationship between the electrical response and mechanical damage in unload-reload tensile hysteresis tests. Compared to the 55% resistance increase seen for CVI composites, the MI SiC/SiC composites exhibit a maximum resistance change in 450% in response to mechanical loading (damage), which is the highest sensitivity known among various composites. An analytic model accounting for fiber breakage and matrix cracks was developed to link the electrical resistance to mechanical damage in the composites. The predictions from the models agree well with the experimental data for both composites with high and low conductive matrices. The residual resistance change after unloading is also correlated to the loading history by the analytical relationship. This study demonstrates that resistance change is sensitive to damage in a predictable manner and can be used to improve the reliability of damage assessment of SiC/SiC composites.

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Journal of the American Ceramic Society





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