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The use of ceramics components in gas turbines, cutting tools, and heat exchangers has been limited by the relatively low flaw tolerance of monolithic ceramics. The development of whisker-toughened ceramic composites offers the potential for considerable improvement in fracture toughness as well as strength. However, the variability of strength is still too high for the application of deterministic design approaches. This report reviews several phenomenological reliability theories proposed for this material system, and reports on the development of a public domain computer algorithm. This algorithm, when coupled with a general-purpose finite element program, predicts the fast fracture reliability of a structural component under multiaxial loading conditions.


NASA Technical Memorandum 102333