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Effects of thermal plasma on the microstructure and mechanical behavior of alumina-mullite based oxide/oxide ceramic matrix composites
Singh, Abhendra K.
Opliger, Matthew S.
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James, H., Singh, A.K., Hyde, T., Andrulonis, R., & Opliger, M.S. (2023). Effects of thermal plasma on the microstructure and mechanical behavior of alumina-mullite based oxide/oxide ceramic matrix composites. Materials Science and Engineering: A, v.886, art. no.145711. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msea.2023.145711
Oxide/oxide ceramic matrix composites have potential applications in thermal protection systems due to their ability to withstand very high temperatures while maintaining their load bearing capability and oxidation resistance. Under hypersonic flight conditions vehicle components may be exposed to temperatures above the melting points of alumina and mullite, as well as to chemically active ionized gases. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the response of these CMCs to not just thermal loads, but also the added challenges of plasma environments. In this study, alumina-mullite based oxide/oxide CMCs were exposed to an inductively generated plasma jet for 30 min at a heat flux of 24 W/cm$^2$ in near vacuum conditions. Resulting microstructures were characterized with XRD and SEM/EDS. Silicon rich, sub-micron globules were observed on the surface of the impinged region. Also, the first 5 μm below the surface were enriched with silicon. The back surface showed no silicon enrichment but did have a granulated surface texture in comparison to as manufactured samples. Short beam strength tests were performed as a measure of structural performance. Differences in the overall response and short beam strength were noted between the as manufactured and plasma exposed cases.
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