Direct observation of the elasticity-texture relationship in pyrolytic carbon via in situ micropillar compression and digital image correlation

J. Kabel; T. E. J. Edwards; A. Sharma; J. Michler; P. Hosemann

Carbon 182 (2021) 571-584

Pyrolytic carbon (PyC) plays a critical role in many applications for its unique properties. In ceramic composite systems, the elastic properties of PyC at the fiber/matrix interface drive toughening mechanisms, enabling structural performance at increased operating temperatures. PyC expresses a wide range of crystallographic texture depending on fabrication parameters. As a result, modelling and optimization requires direct understanding of the texture-property relationships at the relevant length scales. This research leverages high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) to link the PyC microstructure to the elastic response observed via digital image correlation (DIC) during micropillar compression. The HRTEM and DIC results quantitatively resolve a gradient for microstructural texture and Young’s modulus respectively, showing that disordered texture increases compressive stiffness normal to the average orientation of the PyC basal planes. The values for modulus ranged from 55 to 150 GPa, which are large compared to most experimental methods, but may be more realistic considering the uniaxial stress state and length scale. The behavior supports findings from numerical homogenization models, suggesting that this advanced technique may provide a path forward for optimization and validation of these nanoscale elasticity models.