One unfortunate characteristic of ceramic matrix composites is the catastrophic failure which occurs when good bonding exists between the fiber and matrix. A crack which originates in the matrix (or fibers) can transverse the entire cross section due to the lack of any crack deflecting or energy absorbing mechanisms. This limits the performance of the composite to the constituent which has the largest flaw or the lowest failure strain. In many ceramic composite systems the matrix is the limiting component and therefore the potential high strength of the fibers can never be realized. To improve the fracture behavior of brittle/brittle systems, the interface between the load bearing element and the matrix should be controlled. Optimum interface tailoring would provide for transfer of all the load to the fibers, but with the prevention of catastrophic crack propagation. In this work, the brittle failure in these systems was altered by controlling the fiber/matrix interface with a suitable barrier layer or by multilaying the matrix thereby introducing several barriers to prevent propagation of matrix cracks.
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