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Title: Development and characterization of transparent glass matrix composites
Author: Pang, Bo
ISNI:       0000 0004 2715 4413
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2011
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Glass matrix composites based on NextelTM alumina fibre reinforced borosilicate glass have been fabricated to improve their mechanical property and fracture toughness. In this work, a novel processing technique, which is called “sandwich” hot-pressing, has been used. It consists of arranging the reinforcing fibres in two directions with a periodic interspacing between glass slides, and submitting the material to a heat-treatment for consolidation into highly dense and transparent composites, which were proved by XRD analysis and SEM observations. These composites’ mechanical, optical and microstructural properties were studied and compared to those of the unidirectional fibre reinforced borosilicate glass composite and unreinforced glass matrix produced under the same conditions. Furthermore, a hybrid sol-gel technique has been employed for coating the fibres with a smooth and crack free ZrO2 interfacial layer to provide a weak bonding at the fibre/matrix interface to promote fibre pull-out during fracture. ZrO2 coated and uncoated fibre-reinforced borosilicate glass matrix composites were fabricated, with different sizes of optical windows including 4x4, 5x5 and 6x6 cm2. Moreover, a geometry based equation was derived to evaluate the expected light transmittance of the composites. These multi-directional fibre reinforced glass matrix composites retained at least 50% of the light transmittance and higher flexural strength compared with the unreinforced glass matrix. The highest measured flexural strength value of these composites was 56 ± 7 MPa. The composites reinforced by ZrO2 coated fibres had higher flexural strength (approx. 36%) and lower standard deviation (approx. 47%) compared with those reinforced by uncoated fibres. The introduction of a ZrO2 interfacial layer was to improve the mechanical properties and to retain the composites’ integrity, which was proved by the observations of fibre pull-out and crack deflection upon failure during mechanical tests. To investigate the microstructure of the interfacial layer in the composite, SEM, FIB-SIMS and TEM were employed. The present composites show potential for applications in architecture and special machinery requiring strong transparent windows.
Supervisor: Boccaccini, Aldo ; McPhail, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral