Materials scientist and metallurgist, GE Corporate Research and Development, Schenectady, NY
Independent scholar and consultant, Bradford, PA
This paper examines aspects of the distribution of the longest possible microcracks in specimens of a fatigued aluminum-matrix silicon carbide whisker composite and the probability of coalescence in general. The length of the longest microcracks in this material is determined largely by coalescence and making reasonable assumptions is bounded and an upper bound can be calculated. This upper bound is used to fit sample data to an asymptotic extreme value distribution from which reliabilities based on an arbitrarily chosen critical length are calculated. It is shown that for reliabilities corresponding to failure probabilities less than even 10−10 the mere presence of an upper bound on microcrack length can determine the extreme value distribution independent of the actual value of that bound provided that the experimental data supporting the extreme value distribution are entirely characteristic of actual service and that a loading criterion is met.
Paper ID: CTR10615J