Mechanical properties and damage tolerance of Y2SiO5
Y2SiO5 has potential applications as functional–structural ceramic and environmental/thermal barrier coating material. As an important grain-boundary phase in the sintered Si3N4, it also influences the mechanical and dielectric performances of the host material. In this paper, we present the mechanical properties of Y2SiO5 including elastic moduli, hardness, strength and fracture toughness, and try to understand the mechanical features from the viewpoint of crystal structure. Y2SiO5 has low shear modulus, low hardness, as well as high capacity for dispersing mechanical damage energy and for resisting crack penetration. Particularly, it can be machined by cemented carbides tools. The crystal structure characteristics of Y2SiO5 suggest the low-energy weakly bonded atomic planes crossed only by the easily breaking Y–O bonds as well as the rotatable rigid SiO4 tetrahedra are the origins of low shear deformation, good damage tolerance and good machinability of this material. TEM observations also demonstrate that the mechanical damage energy was dispersed in the form of the micro-cleavages, stacking faults and twins along these weakly bonded atomic planes, which allows the “microscale-plasticity” for Y2SiO5.