A Method for Estimating Yarn Orientation in Ceramic Matrix Composite Parts using 3D X-ray CT Image

Recently, ceramic matrix composites (CMC), a type of fiber-reinforced composite material, are being developed intensively. CMC is a material in which ceramic fiber is reinforced with also a ceramic matrix. It is characterized by such properties as light weightness and high heat resistance. One of the major promising applications of CMC is in the area of aircraft engine parts as it can considerably improve fuel consumption efficiency. The general forming process of CMC is briefly explained in the following. First, several hundred to one thousand ceramic fibers are bundled to prepare a yarn (fiber bundle), and these prepared yarns are woven into a fabric. There are several methods for weaving the yarns. This paper focuses only on three-dimensional weaving, which is a method of weaving from three directions (X, Y and Z directions) to prepare a fabric. Figure 1 (a) shows a sample of a CMC part made by three-dimensional weaving. Here, the orientation of the yarns in the formed CMC part serves as one of the critical factors determining its strength. Thus, it must be carefully checked for meandering, deviation, rupture, etc. In this study, we aim to develop a method for evaluating fiber orientation using industrial X-ray CT images of the CMC part. After the fabric is prepared, a matrix of the composite material is formed using CVI (Chemical Vapor Infiltration) and PIP (Polymer Impregnation and Pyrolysis) processing. Such a matrix decreases the contrast of CT images of the fabric drastically. For this reason, we apply CT scanning to the part before the CVI processing.

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