Interfacial mechanics of push-out tests: Theory and experiments
The thermo-mechanical characterization of interfaces in composite systems (PMC/MMC/IMC/CMC) is one of the challenging problems in composite mechanics and engineering. Each system has its own distinguishing features; however, in MMCs and IMCs the study is rendered more complex due to the evolving chemical species (both temporally and spatially), and the multi-axial state of residual stresses. Before MMCs or IMCs can be used in actual applications, the role of interfaces in not only the strengthening but also toughening mechanisms needs to be clearly understood. For evaluating the interfacial mechanical properties of interfaces, thin slice push-out test has emerged as the de-facto standard. Though, conceptually the testing procedure is simple, interpretation of the test results is not. It is essential to conduct very careful experiments, make precise meso- and macroscopic chemical/structural/mechanical observations and perform a thorough theoretical/numerical simulation before the test data can be used in a quantitative manner. In this paper, a comprehensive analysis of the push-out test is presented based on the theoretical/numerical and experimental research work of the authors' group during the past few years. In this work, thin slice push-out tests were conducted primarily on Titanium Matrix Composites at various test temperatures (room and elevated) with different processing conditions (temperature and time). Different composite systems with Titanium based matrices (Ti-6Al-4V, Timetal 21S, Ti-15Nb-3Al) uniaxially reinforced with Silicon Carbide fibers (SCS-6) were chosen for the study. Effect of the evolution of interfacial chemistry and architecture (in matrix, coating and reaction zone) on both shear strength τs and frictional strength τf were studied. A novel finite element analysis based on nonlinear finite element method was implemented, in which not only the initiation but propagation of interfacial cracks are simulated. In the analysis, both shear stress and fracture energy based criteria are used to model the initiation of (closed) cracks. Quantitative values of τs, τf, GI and GII are then extracted based on the experimental data and the numerical simulation. A critical review of stress and energy based interface-modeling approaches and their applicability to various boundary value problems are made.