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Impact resistant glassy polymers: Pre-stress and mode II fracture

Jared Steven Archer, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Model glassy polymers, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and polycarbonate (PC) are used to experimentally probe several aspects of polymer fracture. In Chapter 1, the method of pre-stress is employed as a means of improving the fracture properites of brittle PMMA. Samples are tested under equi-biaxial compression, simple shear and a combination of biaxial compression and shear. Equi-biaxial compression is shown to increase the threshold stress level for projectile penetration whereas shear pre-stress has a large effect on the overall energy absorbed during an impact. There is also an apparent interaction observed between compression and shear to dramatically increase the threshold stress. Pre-stressed laminates of PMMA and PC show an increase in damage area because of the unique formation of a secondary cone. In Chapter 2, the effect of stress state on stress relaxation in PMMA and PC is investigated. Direct comparisons are made between uniaxial and biaxial loading conditions. The experimental methods used highlight the effect of hydrostatic stress on the relaxation process. The data shows an increase in relaxation time and increase in the breadth of the relaxation spectrum with increases in hydrostatic stress. This suggests that the stress state can have a significant effect on the useful lifetime of pre-stressed articles. In Chapter 3, Mode I and II fracture studies are performed from quasi-static to low velocity impact rates on PMMA and PC. Mode II testing utilizes an angled double-edge notched specimen loaded in compression. The shear banding response of PMMA is shown to be highly sensitive to rate, with diffuse shear bands forming at low rates and sharp distinct shear bands forming at high rates. As the rate increases, shear deformation becomes more localized to the point where Mode II fracture occurs. PC is much less rate dependent and stable shear band propagation is observed over the range of rates studied with lesser amounts of localization. A new theory is formulated relating orientation in a shear band to intrinsic material properties obtained from true-stress true-strain tests. In a qualitative sense the theory predicts the high rate sensitivity of PMMA. A kinematic limit for orientation within a shear band is also derived based on entanglement network parameters. Mode II fracture in PMMA is shown to occur at this kinematic limit. For the case of PC, the maximum impact rates were not high enough to reach the kinematic limit. In Chapter 4, the deformation response, as observed in a shear band is interpreted through the characterization of the "intrinsic material properties" obtained from true stress—true strain 8compression tests. The relatively high rate sensitivity of PMMA deformed at room temperature is related to the proximity of the beta transition to the test temperature. This is also shown in corollary experiments on PC where deformation near the beta transition is accompanied by an increase in rate sensitivity. Physical aging results in a more narrow alpha transition and is shown to increase strain localization and decrease rate sensitivity at low strain rates.

Subject Area

Polymer chemistry|Materials science

Recommended Citation

Archer, Jared Steven, "Impact resistant glassy polymers: Pre-stress and mode II fracture" (2012). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3556232.