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Eccentric loading of microtensile specimensCeramic materials have a lower density than most metals and are capable of performing at extremely high temperatures. The utility of these materials is obvious; however, the fracture strength of brittle materials is not easily predicted and often varies greatly. Characteristically, brittle materials lack ductility and do not yield as other materials. Ceramics materials are naturally populated with microscopic cracks due to fabrication techniques. Upon application of a load, stress concentration occurs at the root of these cracks and fracture will eventually occur at some not easily predicted strength. In order to use ceramics in any application some design methodology must exist from which a component can be placed into service. This design methodology is CARES/LIFE (Ceramics Analysis and Reliability Evaluation of Structures) which has been developed and refined at NASA over the last several decades. The CARES/LIFE computer program predicts the probability of failure of a ceramic component over its service life. CARES combines finite element results from a commercial FE (finite element) package such as ANSYS and experimental results to compute the abovementioned probability of failure. Over the course of several tests CARES has had great success in predicting the life of various ceramic components and has been used throughout industry. The latest challenge is to verify that CARES is valid for MEMS (Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems). To investigate a series of microtensile specimens were fractured in the laboratory. From this data, material parameters were determined and used to predict a distribution of strength for other specimens that exhibit a known stress concentration. If the prediction matches the experimental results then these parameters can be applied to a desired component outside of the laboratory. During testing nearly half of the tensile Specimens fractured at a location that was not expected and hence not captured in the FE model. It has been my duty to investigate the nature of this phenomenon in hopes of finding a better correlation between theory and empirical results. To investigate I built complete FE models of all of the tensile specimens using ANSYS. It is suspected that some misalignment naturally occurs during testing and thus additional bending stresses are present in the specimens. I modeled this eccentric loading and ran several FE trials using ANSYS/PDS (a probabilistic design system in ANSYS). My objective this summer has been familiarize myself with the CARES/LIFE program in hopes of using it in conjunction with ANSYS to help verify that CARES is applicable to MEMS-scale (greater that 1 micron, less than 1 millimeter) components.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Trapp, Mark A.
(Carnegie-Mellon Univ. Pittsburgh, PA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium I
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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