Alumina-based microstructural composites combining equiaxed and textured layers were fabricated to examine how cracks propagate and the mechanical properties are affected as a function of the residual stress and volume fraction of texture in a multilayer structure. By combining equiaxed and highly textured alumina layers of varying thermal expansion, the embedded textured layers were placed under compressive residual stresses as high as -670 MPa. Composites with a near constant maximum failure stress of up to 300 MPa were shown to be almost independent of the initial defect size as result of the compressive residual stress in the textured layers. An apparent fracture toughness of up to 10.1 MPa·m1/2 was obtained for composites with an equiaxed to textured volume ratio of 7.4:1. The high compressive stress in the textured layers arrested cracks, whereas the weak bonding parallel to the basal surfaces of the textured alumina grains caused cracks to deflect within the textured layers. The coupling of these two mechanisms resulted in crack arrest and a maximum work of fracture of ∼1200 J/m2 or almost 50 times higher than equiaxed alumina. We believe that embedding textured layers having compressive stresses below the surface of multilayer composites represent an important strategy for designing flaw-tolerant materials with pronounced crack growth resistance and a high work of fracture.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ceramics and Composites
- Materials Chemistry