A study was conducted to establish analytical design techniques for predicting the failure probability of ceramic heat exchanger components. Three test specimen geometries representing subscale components of an axial flow, tubular ceramic heat exchanger were selected for evaluation. Failure probability predictions for the specimens subjected to mechanical loads were made using finite element stress and two-parameter Weibull analyses. Weibull parameters for sintered alpha-SiC were determined using as-sintered flexure bars in four-point-bend strength tests.

Assessments of the prediction accuracy were made by failure testing populations of the three specimen geometries fabricated using sintered alpha–SiC. Tests were conducted at ambient conditions and with a rapid loading rate. Experimental results indicate that reasonably accurate failure probability predictions can be made.

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