Electrical resistance has become a technique of interest for monitoring SiC-based ceramic composites. The typical constituents of SiC fiber-reinforced SiC matrix composites, SiC, Si and/or C, are semi-conducive to some degree resulting in the fact that when damage occurs in the form of matrix cracking or fiber breakage, the resistance increases. For aero engine applications, SiC fiber reinforced SiC, sometimes Si-containing, matrix with a BN interphase are often the main constituents. The resistivity of Si and SiC is highly temperature dependent. For high temperature tests, electrical lead attachment must be in a cold region which results in strong temperature effects on baseline measurements of resistance. This can be instructive as to test conditions; however, there is interest in focusing the resistance measurement in the hot section where damage monitoring is desired. The resistivity of C has a milder temperature dependence than that of Si or SiC. In addition, if the C is penetrated by damage, it would result in rapid oxidation of the C, presumably resulting in a change in resistance. One approach considered here is to insert carbon “rods” in the form of CVD SiC monofilaments with a C core to try and better sense change in resistance as it pertains to matrix crack growth in an elevated temperature test condition. The monofilaments were strategically placed in two non-oxide composite systems to understand the sensitivity of ER in damage detection at room temperature as well as elevated temperatures. Two material systems were considered for this study. The first composite system consisted of a Hi-Nicalon woven fibers, a BN interphase and a matrix processed via polymer infiltration and pyrolysis (PIP) which had SCS-6 monofilaments providing the C core. The second composite system was a melt-infiltrated (MI) pre-preg laminate which contained Hi-Nicalon Type S fibers with BN interphases with SCS-Ultra monofilaments providing the C core. The two composite matrix systems represent two extremes in resistance, the PIP matrix being orders of magnitude higher in resistance than the Si-containing pre-preg MI matrix. Single notch tension-tension fatigue tests were performed at 815°C to stimulate crack growth. Acoustic emission (AE) was used along with electrical resistance (ER) to monitor the damage initiation and progression during the test. Post-test microscopy was performed on the fracture specimen to understand the oxidation kinetics and carbon recession length in the monofilaments.

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