The objective of this effort is to develop and demonstrate innovative interlaminar Mode I and Mode II fracture toughness analysis and test methods for ceramic matrix composites (CMC). Currently, there are number of American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) test standards for CMC’s at both ambient and elevated temperatures, including interlaminar tension and shear strength test methods. However, there are no standardized test methods for determination of interlaminar fracture toughness in CMC’s. Although research work exists on interlaminar Mode I and Mode II fracture toughness of various types of CMC’s, the test methods applied particularly in Mode II fracture toughness testing showed definite drawbacks and limitations. ASTM test standards for CMC’s may exhibit a zig-zag (wavy) crack path pattern, and fiber bridging. The experimental parameters that may contribute to the difficulty can be summarized as: specimen width and thickness, interface coating thickness, mixed mode failure evolution, and interlaminar defects. Modes I and II crack growth resistances, GI and GII, were analytically determined at ambient temperature using double cantilever beam (DCB) and End Notched Flexure (ENF) geometries. Three (3) CMC material systems were analyzed (Sylramic/IBN/MI, SiC/SiC CVI, and SiC/CAS). Several Finite Element (FE) based potential techniques were investigated: a) Multi-scale progressive failure analysis (MS-PFA); b) Virtual Crack Closure Technique (VCCT); and c) Contour Integral (CI). Advantages and disadvantages of each were identified. The final modeling algorithm recommended was an integrated damage and fracture evolution methodology using MS-PFA and VCCT. The analysis results (Fracture energy vs. crack length, Fracture energy vs. load, Fracture energy vs. crack opening displacement) matched the Mode I and Mode II coupon tests and revealed the following key findings. Mode I-DCB specimen: 1) Sylramic/IBN/MI failure mode is due to interlaminar tension (ILT) only in the interface section and a zig-zag pattern observed 2) VCCT crack growth resistance of Sylramic/IBN/MI is well matched to the test data and 3) SiC/SiC CVI failure mode is a mixed mode behavior (ILT to interlaminar shear (ILS). Mode II ENF specimen MS-PFA analysis suggests mixed mode behavior and the zig-zag pattern similar to Mode I coupon tests.

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