MICROMECHANICAL MODELING OF REINFORCEMENT FRACTURE IN PARTICLE-REINFORCED METAL-MATRIX COMPOSITES
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Finite element analyses of the effect of particle fracture on the tensile response of particle-reinforced metal-matrix composites are carried out. The analyses are based on two-dimensional plane strain and axisymmetric unit cell models. The reinforcement is characterized as an isotropic elastic solid and the ductile matrix as an isotropically hardening viscoplastic solid. The reinforcement and matrix properties are taken to be those of an Al-3.5 wt pet Cu alloy reinforced with SiC particles. An initial crack, perpendicular to the tensile axis, is assumed to be present in the particles. Both stationary and quasi-statically growing cracks are analyzed. Resistance to crack growth in its initial plane and along the particle-matrix interface is modeled using a cohesive surface constitutive relation that allows for decohesion. Variations of crack size, shape, spatial distribution, and volume fraction of the particles and of the material and cohesive properties are explored. Conditions governing the onset of cracking within the particle, the evolution of field quantities as the crack advances within the particle to the particle-matrix interface, and the dependence of overall tensile stress-strain response during continued crack advance are analyzed. 1994 The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, and ASM International.