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Strength and Notch Sensitivity of Porous-Matrix Oxide Composites

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The effects of matrix strength on the notched and unnotched tensile properties of a family of porous-matrix oxide composites are examined both experimentally and theoretically. Experiments are performed on three composites, distinguished from one another by the amount of binding alumina within the matrix. Increases in alumina concentration produce elevations in unnotched tensile and shear strengths, but the benefits are offset by an increase in notch sensitivity. The degree of notch sensitivity is rationalized on the basis of a model that accounts for interactions between notch tip tensile and shear bands. The model predictions are cast in terms of the ratio of the notch length to a characteristic bridging length scale. These results, in turn, form the basis for a simple analytical formula for notched strength, accounting for effects of elastic anisotropy and finite sample size. The utility of this formula in predicting notched strength is assessed. Issues associated with bridging law shapes and bridging length scales are addressed. The effect of alumina concentration on notch sensitivity is discussed in terms of its influence on the bridging length scale, dictated by the interplay between the unnotched tensile strength, the longitudinal Young's modulus, the degree of in-plane elastic anisotropy, and the fracture energy. The net result is a decreasing bridging length scale and hence increasing notch sensitivity as the matrix is strengthened with alumina.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Materials Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106-5050

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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