Microcracking in Porous High-Temperature Ceramics
Porous ceramics are an important class of materials for environmental control technologies, in particular, diesel particulate filters (DPFs) and catalytic converters. These applications require the ceramic to function though a temperature range of more than 1200 °C. Changes in temperature of this magnitude lead to severe microcracking, which can be healed at high temperature. Thus, the microcracking behavior is history dependent. The goal of this project is to develop a mechanistically sound macroscopic model to predict the elastic and thermal properties of the porous ceramic as a function of temperature. As a tool to study microcracking in porous ceramics, finite element models are constructed that approximate relevant microstructural features of the ceramic. These models are used to carefully study the relationship between local material behavior and macroscopic ceramic behavior
Reliability Prediction in Composite Structures: A Defect-Sensitive Multiscale Stochastic Model
Inability to predict composite reliability has led many manufacturers to abandon the use of composites or resort to severe overdesign. Composite reliability is driven by the presence of defects in the composite microstructure. State-of-the-art composite failure prediction assumes average composite behavior, which cannot predict the effect of defects. Our essential hypothesis is that real composite microstructures can be represented as a stochastic combination of “idealized” microstructures, which can incorporate realistic constituent-level physics for reliability prediction. Finite element studies are underway to determine an appropriate methodology for computing the stochastic parameters linking the idealized microstructures to the random microstructure. Ultimately, this approach will be integrated into existing commercial finite element codes to simulate composite structure reliability with known defect distribution.
Physics-Based Prediction of Fatigue, Creep, and Environmental Degradation in Composite Structures
The inability to accurately predict long term behavior of composites has prevented their adoption in industries where their benefits could be substantial. Our group is developing a methodology to predict fatigue, creep, and environmental degradation in composites based on constituent-level physics. The method relies on using transformation tensors to extract constituent stresses from a composite stress state. We then invoke transition state theory in conjunction with a damage evolution law to predict the fatigue life of the constituent and, correspondingly, the composite. Current work focuses on unifying fatigue and creep life predictions as well as incorporating realistic creep strains in fatigue analysis.
Dislocation Structure Engineering
Recent theoretical work has suggested that dislocation structures in thin films may be strongly influenced by load history, not simply final load. In particular, the types of interactions that occur in films and that drive the evolution of the dislocation structure are biased by the applied film stress relative to the thickness-dependent channeling stress in the film. Thus, structure of the dislocations may be engineered via careful control of film stress during the growth of the film. This is of critical importance, as the presence of particular dislocation structures is the primary impediment to higher efficiencies in high energy solar cells. The goal of this project is to develop a 2.5D dislocation dynamics simulation tool, validated using 3D simulation, to predict and optimize dislocation structures in thin film multijunction solar cells.