Measurements of fibre bridging during fatigue crack growth in Ti/SiC fibre metal matrix composites

M. Preuss, G. Rauchs, T. J.A. Doel, A. Steuwer, P. Bowen, P. J. Withers

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High spatial resolution synchrotron X-ray strain mapping has been used to map the elastic matrix and fibre strains in the vicinity of a fatigue crack in a Ti-6Al-4V/SCS6 SiC fibre composite. A 0.61 mm fatigue crack was initiated and grown in three-point-bending. By using an in-situ loading stage it was possible to map the crack opening (longitudinal) strain distribution at Kappl = Kmax and Kappl = 0. In the far field region, significant thermally induced stresses were evident, being compressive in the fibres and tensile in the matrix. Around the notch and in the wake of the crack tip essentially no residual strain and only small interfacial shear stresses were found in the unloaded case, indicative of a debonded/damaged interface. At Kmax the maximum tensile stress in the matrix is in the vicinity of the crack tip, whereas for the SiC fibres the maximum stress is in the bridging zone in the wake of the crack. The perturbed zone extends about ±1.5 mm either side of the crack. It was at the boundary of this zone that the maximum interfacial shear stresses (∼80 MPa) were measured in the loaded stage. A small area of tensile strain in front of the crack tip in the unloaded condition suggests frictional resistance from the bridging fibres acts to keep the crack slightly open. A simple three-dimensional finite element model has been developed to help interpret the results. The crack is introduced statically by node release and the Coulomb friction law governs the interface strength. The results of the model are compared to the synchrotron strain measurements. This comparison confirms the degradation of the interface strength in the wake of the crack.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1057
Number of pages13
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatigue crack growth
  • Fibre bridging
  • Finite element modelling
  • Interfacial shear stress
  • Metal matrix composite

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