Garrett Auxiliary Power Division of Allied-Signal Aerospace Company is developing methods to design ceramic turbine components with improved impact resistance. In an ongoing research effort under the DOE/NASA-funded Advanced Turbine Technology Applications Project (ATTAP), two different modes of impact damage have been identified and characterized: local damage and structural damage. Local impact damage to Si3N4 impacted by spherical projectiles usually takes the form of ring and/or radial cracks in the vicinity of the impact point. Baseline data from Si3N4 test bars impacted by 1.588-mm (0.0625-in.) diameter NC-132 projectiles indicates the critical velocity at which the probability of detecting surface cracks is 50 percent equalled 130 m/s (426 ft/sec). A microphysics-based model that assumes damage to be in the form of microcracks has been developed to predict local impact damage. Local stress and strain determine microcrack nucleation and propagation, which in turn alter local stress and strain through modulus degradation. Material damage is quantified by a “damage parameter” related to the volume fraction of microcracks. The entire computation has been incorporated into the EPIC computer code. Model capability is being demonstrated by simulating instrumented plate impact and particle impact tests. Structural impact damage usually occurs in the form of fast fracture caused by bending stresses that exceed the material strength. The EPIC code has been successfully used to predict radial and axial blade failures from impacts by various size particles. This method is also being used in conjunction with Taguchi experimental methods to investigate the effects of design parameters on turbine blade impact resistance. It has been shown that significant improvement in impact resistance can be achieved by using the configuration recommended by Taguchi methods.

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