An analytical approach to particle erosion of brittle material surfaces is being developed based on a statistical model of erosion pit nucleation and growth[1,2]. For solid-particle erosion the Hertzian theory of impact is being considered in order to introduce the kinematic and material parameters into the general statistical formulation of the erosion process. In order to minimize the number of unknown factors in the initial development of a predictive erosion theory, the particular case of spherical glass beads impacting directly on the plane surface of relatively flaw-free fused silica (Corning 7940) has been investigated.
The erosion mechanisms in fused silica have been identified for both 70- and 290-μm glass beads impacting at 61 and 91.5 m/s. The experimentally observed erosion mechanisms could be correlated with the measured erosion rates, and it was substantiated that the solid-particle erosion of fused silica could be modeled in terms of preferential pit nucleation and growth. The controlled erosion tests provided evidence for the applicability of the Hertzian relations to the impact conditions associated with solid-particle erosion.
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