Ceramic composites are critical to advance the performance of engines, reducing weight and enhancing fuel efficiency in their use as structural parts or protective coatings. Understanding load transfer between the reinforcements and matrix materials that constitute these composites hold the key to elucidating their mechanical properties and consequent behavior in operation. In this work, finite element (FE) simulations of loading effects on representative embedded alumina particles in a matrix were investigated and compared with experimental results. Mechanical loading effects on alumina nanoparticle composites can be captured with Photo stimulated luminescent spectroscopy (PSLS), where spectral shifts from the particles are monitored with load. The resulting piezospectroscopic (PS) coefficients are then used to calculate load transfer between the matrix and particle. The results from the simulation and experiments are shown to be in general agreement of increase in load transferred with increasing particle volume fraction due to contact stresses that are dominant at these higher volume fractions. Results from this work present a combination of analytical and experimental insight into the effect of particle volume fraction on load transfer in ceramic composites that can serve to determine properties and eventually optimize various parameters such as particle shape, size and dispersion that govern the design of these composites prior to manufacture and testing.

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