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Space-age ceramics get their toughest test
Date:12/10/2012

aterials scientist seeking the optimal composition or architecture, and the design engineer who must predict the failure envelope, Ritchie says. The only reliable way to answer this question is through measurements made at ultrahigh temperatures.

ALS Beamline 8.3.2, which is powered by a 6 Tesla superconducting bend magnet, is designed for X-ray computed microtomography, a technology that provides non-destructive 3D imaging of solid objects at a resolution of approximately one micron. With the addition of their unique tensile testing rig, Ritchie and his colleagues can maintain in situ ultrahigh temperature environments in either inert or oxidizing atmospheres while obtaining real-time 3D images of sample microstructures. In their Nature Materials paper, Ritchie and his coauthors describe obtaining 3D images of the microstructures of ceramic composite samples made from silicon-carbide at sufficient resolution to observe the formation of microcracks and other forms of internal damage as a function of load.

"The results of our tests provided vital information pertaining to the underlying failure mechanisms within ceramic composites that can be used to optimize their performance, Ritchie says.

"The capacity for validating virtual testing models through direct, real-time, non-invasive experimental observations should greatly advance our understanding and help promote the technological innovation of ceramic composites."


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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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