The ultrasonic machining of silicon carbide / alumina composites.

NICHOLSON, Garth Martyn John. (1998). The ultrasonic machining of silicon carbide / alumina composites. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

Silicon carbide fibre reinforced alumina is a ceramic composite which was developed in conjunction with the Rolls-Royce Aerospace Group. The material is intended for use in the latest generation of jet engines, specifically for high temperature applications such as flame holders, combustor barrel segments and turbine blade tip seals. The material in question has properties which have been engineered by optimizing fibre volume fractions, weaves and fibre interface materials to meet the following main requirements : high thermal resistance, high thermal shock resistance and low density.Components intended for manufacture using this material will use the "direct metal oxidation" (DIMOX) method. This process involves manufacturing a near net shape component from the woven fibre matting, and infiltrating the matting with the alumina matrix material. Some of the components outlined require high tolerance features to be included in their design. The combustor barrel segments for example require slots to be formed within them for sealing purposes, the dimensions of these features preclude their formation using DIMOX, and therefore require a secondary process to be performed. Conventional machining techniques such as drilling, turning and milling cannot be used because of the brittle nature of the material. Electrodischarge machining (E.D.M.) cannot be used since the material is an insulator. Electrochemical machining (E.C.M.) cannot be used since the material is chemically inert. One machining method which could be used is ultrasonic machining (U.S.M.).The research programme investigated the feasibility of using ultrasonic machining as a manufacturing method for this new fibre reinforced composite. Two variations of ultrasonic machining were used : ultrasonic drilling and ultrasonic milling. Factors such as dimensional accuracy, surface roughness and delamination effects were examined. Previously performed ultrasonic machining experimental programmes were reviewed, as well as process models which have been developed. The process models were found to contain empirical constants which usually require specific material data for their calculation.Since a limited amount of the composite was available, and ultrasonic machining has many process variables, a Taguchi factorial experiment was conducted in order to ascertain the most relevant factors in machining. A full factorial experiment was then performed using the relevant factors. Techniques used in the research included both optical and scanning electron microscopy, surface roughness analysis, x-ray analysis and finite element stress analysis. A full set of machining data was obtained including relationships between the factors examined and both material removal rates, and surface roughness values. An attempt was made to explain these findings by examining established brittle fracture mechanisms. These established mechanisms did not seem to apply entirely to this material, an alternative method of material removal is therefore proposed. It is hoped that the data obtained from this research programme may contribute to the development of a more realistic mathematical model.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 1998.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:21
Last Modified: 23 May 2018 15:20
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20119

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