Basal Plane Delamination Energy Measurement in a Ti3SiC2 MAX Phase

O. Gavalda-Diaz; J. Lyons; S. Wang; M. Emmanuel; K. Marquardt; E. Saiz; F. Giuliani

Jom 73 (2021) 1582-1588

The {0001} basal plane delamination dominating the crack-wake bridging in MAX phases at a bulk scale has been investigated by studying the small-scale fracture of a Ti3SiC2. In situ micro-double cantilever beam (DCB) tests in a scanning electron microscope were used to grow a stable crack along the basal plane, measure the fracture energy, and study the crack propagation mechanism at the nanoscale. The results show that the fracture energy (10–50 J/m2) depends on small misorientations angles (e.g., 5°) of the basal plane to the stress field. This induces permanent deformation which can be observed once the DCB has been unloaded. The nanoscale study of the crack shows that the plasticity at the crack tip is small, but a number of pairs of dislocations are forming at each side of the crack. Hence, this study helps to explain the enhanced fracture energy values and possible sources of energy dissipation in basal plane delamination, which is the one of the main toughening mechanisms in the bulk fracture of MAX phases.