Two models based on elastic-plastic fracture mechanics and fiber bridging are developed to study the role of plastic yielding in metals and the interfacial strength of metal/ceramic laminates. There are two types of damage observed in metal/ceramic laminates: multiple cracking and macroscopic crack propagation. The former occurs around the macroscopic crack tip and thus distributes the damage and enhances the composite's toughness. The present models establish that there exists a critical metal/ceramic layer thickness ratio above which multiple cracking dominates and that this ratio decreases (hence increasing the possibility of multiple cracking) as the ratios of metal yield stress over ceramic strength, metal modulus over ceramic modulus, and metal/ceramic interfacial strength over ceramic strength increase. Good agreement between the present models and experimental results is observed for both damage modes, i.e. multiple cracking vs macroscopic crack propagation, and for critical stress intensity factors. The elastic-plastic fracture mechanics and fiber-bridging models predict that multiple cracking is ensured if the metal layer thickness is 2.5 times larger than the ceramic layer thickness, regardless of the metal/ceramic properties.
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