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Optimization of Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) Interfaces



OBJECTIVE: Demonstrate a computational tool for material and process development of ceramic matrix composite (CMC) that can assist in minimizing production time and optimize density, compression and tensile strength, toughness and thermal stability of the resulting CMC composites for missile structures. The computational tool will be informed by an enhanced understanding of the effect of time, temperature and processing conditions on the fiber/matrix interphase region which is in direct relation to the mechanical properties of the composite. 

DESCRIPTION: Army missile systems strive to improve performance while maintaining affordability. Lightweight, high-temperature composite materials are required to continue system performance improvements. A key parameter contributing to the performance of CMC structures is the interaction between the fiber and matrix during production and operation. Gaining an enhanced understanding of the fiber/matrix interphase region will support development of computational tool for material and process development of CMC structures. 

PHASE I: Develop a proof of concept for a computational tool, based on a comprehensive understanding of the CMC’s fiber/matrix interphase variables of effect as they relate to time, temperature and processing conditions. Baseline the cost for a material and process system (for an applicable missile structure). Optimize the cost of materials and processes in pursuit of a 40% reduction in costs as compared to baseline. Performance will be measured by the material characteristics of the resultant mechanical properties generated by the tool to include tensile and compressive strength, as well as density and void content. 

PHASE II: Demonstrate the ability to fabricate an applicable CMC missile structure at a processing cost of 40% less than baseline. The solution should be tailored to optimize the composite tensile and compressive strength, toughness and thermal stability for temperatures ranging from 500°C to 1500°C. The tailored properties should be demonstrated by testing and documented to include fiber/matrix interphase properties, compressive strength, tensile strength, void content, and density. Deliver comprehensive engineering and test documentation of the applicable structure. 

PHASE III: Demonstrate a commercially-viable CMC solution in a representative missile structure with tailored mechanical and physical properties generated by the optimization tool. The tailored properties should be demonstrated by testing. The fiber/matrix properties should be evaluated and documented. Additionally, support transitioning the technology to suitable prime contractors for further engineering development, integration, and testing. 


1: Naslain, Roger R. "Fiber-reinforced ceramic matrix composites: state of the art, challenge and perspective." Kompozyty (Composites) 5 (2005): 1.

KEYWORDS: Ceramic, Fiber/matrix Interaction, Interface Region, Surface Science, Carbon 

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