A new approach to characterizing oxidation damage in ceramic matrix composites using ultrasonic techniques is proposed. In this approach the elastic constants of the composite are determined nondestructively by measuring the angular dependence of both longitudinal and transverse wave velocities. A micromechanical model for composites with anisotropic constituents is used to find the anisotropic properties of an effective fiber which is a combination of the fiber and the interface. Interfacial properties are extracted from the properties of this effective fiber by analyzing the difference between effective and actual fiber properties. Unidirectional [0]28 SiC/Si3N4 composites with 30 percent fiber volume fraction and 30 percent matrix porosity are used. The samples are exposed in a flowing oxygen environment at elevated temperatures, up to 1400°C, for 100 hours and then measured by ultrasonic methods at room temperature. The Young’s modulus in the fiber direction of the sample oxidized at 600° C decreased significantly but it was unchanged for samples oxidized at temperatures above 1200° C. The transverse moduli obtained from ultrasonic measurements decrease continuously up to 1200°C. The shear stiffnesses show behavior similar to the transverse moduli. The effective elastic moduli of the interfacial carbon coating are determined from the experimental data and their change due to thermal oxidation is discussed.

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