Description: Self-reinforced silicon nitride ceramics rely the generation of elongated grains that act as reinforcing elements to gain increases in fracture toughness. However, the size and number of the reinforcing grains must be controlled, along with the matrix grain size, to optimize the fracture toughness and strength. Furthermore, the toughening processes of crack bridging are dependent upon retention of these reinforcing grains during crack extension by an interfacial debonding process. Both the debonding process and the resultant toughening effects are found to be influenced by the composition of the sintering aids which typical are incorporated into the amorphous intergranular films found in these ceramics. Specifically, it is shown that the interface between the intergranular glass and the reinforcing grains is strengthened in the presence of an epitaxial SiAlON layer. In addition, the interface strength increases with the Al and 0 content of the SiAlON layer. Micromechanics modeling indicates that stresses associated with thermal expansion mismatch are a secondary factor in interfacial debonding in these specific systems. On the other hand, first principles atomic cluster calculations reveal that the debonding behavior is consistent with the formation of strong Si-0 and Al-O bonds across the glass-crystalline interface.
Date: May 10, 1999
Creator: Becher, P.F.; Hsueh, C.H.; More, K.L.; Painter, G.S. & Sun, E.Y.
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