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Ceramic-matrix composites possess many of the desirable qualities of monolithic ceramics, but are much tougher because of the reinforcements. This chapter explains how reinforcements are used in ceramic-matrix composites and how they alter energy-dissipating mechanisms and load-carrying behaviors. It compares the stress-strain curves for monolithic ceramics and ceramic-matrix composites, noting improvements afforded by the addition of reinforcements. It then goes on to discuss the key attributes, properties, and applications of discontinuously reinforced ceramic composites, continuous fiber ceramic composites, and carbon-carbon composites. It also describes a number of ceramic-matrix composite processing methods, including cold pressing and sintering, hot pressing, reaction bonding, directed metal oxidation, and liquid, vapor, and polymer infiltration.

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