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International Journal for Multiscale Computational Engineering
Impact-faktor: 1.016 5-jähriger Impact-Faktor: 1.194 SJR: 0.554 SNIP: 0.68 CiteScore™: 1.18

ISSN Druckformat: 1543-1649
ISSN Online: 1940-4352

International Journal for Multiscale Computational Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMultCompEng.v7.i4.40
pages 277-294

Atomistic Simulations - Based Understanding of the Mechanism behind the Role of Second-Phase SiC Particles in Fracture Resistance of SiC-Si3N4 Nanocomposites

Vikas Tomar
University of Notre Dame
Vikas Samvedi
School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, West Lafayette-IN


One of the primary factors affecting the failure in high strength Silicon Carbide (SiC)-Silicon Nitride (Si3N4) nanocomposites is the placement of spherical nano-sized SiC particles in micro-sized Si3N4 grains. It has been found that as a result of a significant number of nanosized SiC particles being present in micro-sized Si3N4 grains, the SiC particles invariantly fall in wake regions of microcracks leading to significant structural strength. In this research, this mechanism is examined using 3-D molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of crack propagation in SiC-Si3N4 nanocomposites with cylindrical SiC inclusions. Analyses reveal that the second phase particles act as significant stress raisers bringing down the internal strength of the single crystal and bi-crystalline Si3N4 blocks by a factor of almost 2 times. With smaller SiC particle, the interfacial boundary in the bi-crystalline Si3N4 block acts as a stress reliever. However, with increase in the size of SiC particle and with decrease in the spacing between adjacent SiC particles the interfacial boundary's presence results in significant internal stress rise. The results point out that the placement of SiC particles along the interfacial boundaries will not always lead to strengthening of the nanocomposite. Overall, MD analyses confirm the earlier continuum simulation and experimental results concerning the effect of second phase SiC particles on the SiC-Si3N4 nanocomposite strength. In addition, MD analyses also point out that the strengthening of the nanocomposite by placing second phase particles along grain boundaries is only possible for a selective few second phase particle sizes.


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