Advanced engineering and functional ceramics are sensitive to damage cracks, which delay the wide applications of these materials in various fields. Ceramic composites with enhanced fracture toughness may trigger a paradigm for design and application of the brittle components. This paper reviews the toughening mechanisms for the nanolayered MAX phase ceramics. The main toughening mechanisms for these ternary compounds were controlled by particle toughening, phase-transformation toughening and fiber-reinforced toughening, as well as texture toughening. Based on the various toughening mechanisms in MAX phase, models of SiC particles and fibers toughening Ti3
are established to predict and explain the toughening mechanisms. The modeling work provides insights and guidance to fabricate MAX phase-related composites with optimized microstructures in order to achieve the desired mechanical properties required for harsh application environments.
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