18.03.2021 •

Mechanical Properties and Slurry Erosion Resistance of a Hybrid Composite SiC Foam/SiC Particles/EP

The novel hybrid composite SiC foam/SiC particles/EP (SiCfoam/SiCp/EP) was prepared, consisting of an E‐51 epoxy resin (EP) as the matrix and SiCfoam/SiCp particles as the reinforcements. The slurry erosion properties of the SiCfoam/SiCp/EP and SiCfoam/EP (SiC foam/epoxy resin) composites were investigated using a rotating disc rig. SiCfoam/SiCp/EP exhibited better mechanical and anti‐erosive performances than SiCfoam/EP. The SiC particle size had a great impact on the mechanical and anti‐erosive properties of the hybrid composites. Smaller SiC particles improved the mechanical strength but tended to decrease the anti‐erosive performance of the composite. The hybrid composite SiCfoam/SiCp/EP can be applied under solid particle erosion conditions because of its excellent anti-erosive properties. 

Introduction

Solid particle erosion, a typical dynamic wear mode, results from the repeated impact of small, solid particles [1]. It occurs in various engineering fields, such as automotive, aerospace, marine, and energetics. Polymers and polymer composites are widely used in engineering fields because of their high specific strength and stiffness [2,3]. The erosive resistance of various polymer composites has extensively been investigated, including fiber‐reinforced or particle‐reinforced composites and hybrid polymer composites. Fiber/matrix adhesion and fiber orientation strongly affect the erosive resistance of fiber-reinforced composites, which show a semi-ductile erosion behavior [4,5]. In particle-reinforced composites, the particle fillers have a significant effect on the erosive performance of the composite [6,7]. The incorporation of particle fillers into fiber-reinforced polymer composites improves the material's erosive resistance. However, the erosive performance of ceramic foam‐reinforced polymer composites is poorly studied even though ceramic foams have attracted much interest in the past decade.

Ceramic foams, with their unique 3D network architecture and outstanding mechanical and anti‐erosive properties, are excellent reinforcements in composite materials [8–11]. The interpenetrating 3D structure of the ceramic foam reinforcement greatly enhances the mechanical and physical performance of composites. For example, the incorporation of SiC foam into SiC particle-reinforced aluminum composites markedly decreased the composite’s thermal expansion because of the interpenetrating structure of the SiC foam [8]. Furthermore, co‐continuous ceramic foam/aluminum composites were up to twice as wear-resistant as metal-matrix composites made of ceramic powder/fibers, indicating that ceramic foams are more efficient than ceramic powder/fibers as reinforcements in aluminum alloys [9]. We previously showed that a SiC foam/epoxy co‐continuous phase composite (SiCfoam/EP) exhibits better slurry erosion resistance than the epoxy matrix alone and the widely used pipeline steel, indicating that SiCfoam/EP composites can be applied under solid particle erosion conditions [11]. The reinforcing effect of SiC foam on the composite's slurry erosion resistance is greater than that of dispersed SiC particles. However, erosion of the epoxy matrix to a certain degree is inevitable, and increasing the volume fraction of SiC foams to enhance the erosive resistance is an inefficient approach because the preparation of SiC foams at high volume fractions is difficult. Therefore, a hybrid composite in which the reinforcing effects of two reinforcements synergize each other is a good choice for improving the erosive resistance.

This article proposes a hybrid SiC foam/SiC particles/epoxy (SiCfoam/SiCp/EP) composite that can be applied under solid particle erosion conditions. SiCfoam/SiCp/EP exhibited not only improved mechanical properties but also desirable slurry erosion resistance. The mechanical properties and slurry erosion resistance of the SiCfoam/EP composite and hybrid composites containing SiC particles of different sizes were systematically compared. The slurry erosion mechanism of the SiCfoam/SiCp/EP composite was also investigated.

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