In this paper, high-resolution tomographic synchrotron X-ray imaging is applied to study the occurrence and evolution of damage in Ti-6Al-4V/SCS6 SiC fibre composite materials. Three composite morphologies of increasing complexity have been studied, namely single fibre, single-ply and multi-ply composites. The single fibre composite was strained to full fibre fragmentation and the progressive introduction of damage monitored. For the single-ply composite, damage was introduced deliberately by laser drilling to establish the effect of damaged fibres on their neighbours, whereas for the multi-ply composite the morphology of a fibre bridging fatigue crack was studied. In addition to traditional mode I fibre fractures, subsequent fibre wedge cracks were observed presumably nucleating from damage introduced into the fibre surface by the first fracture event. In addition to these crack morphologies, spiral defects were observed for the single ply during failure. Finally, for the multi-ply composite, the matrix crack front showed a number of characteristic features, including advancement in fibre-free regions, crack bifurcation near fibres and different crack plane heights either side of a fibre.
- Damage accumulation
- Metal matrix composites