Abstract

Ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) are an enabling propulsion material system that offer weight benefits over current Ni-based superalloys, and have higher temperature capabilities that can reduce cooling requirements. Incorporating CMCs into the hot section of gas-turbine engines therefore leads to an increase in engine efficiency. While significant advancements have been made, challenges still remain for current and next-generation gas-turbines; particularly when operating in dust-laden or erosive environments. Solid particles entrained in the gas flow can impact engine hardware resulting in localized damage and material removal due to repeated, cumulative impacts. In this study, the erosion behavior of a melt-infiltrated (MI) silicon carbide fiber-reinforced silicon carbide (SiC/SiC) CMC is investigated at high temperature (1,200 °C) in a simulated combustion environment using 150 μm alumina particles as erodent. Particle impact velocities ranged from 100 to 200 m/s and the angle of impingement varied from 30° to 90°. Erosion testing was also performed on α-SiC to elucidate similarities and differences in the erosion response of the composite compared to that of a monolithic ceramic. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to study the post-erosion damage morphology and the governing mechanisms of material removal.

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