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Fatigue Tests

Fatigue Tests

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Published by meDC123
Fatigue test
Fatigue test

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Published by: meDC123 on Jun 05, 2014
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Chapter 12 FATIGUE
Fatigue could be defined as any change in the properties of a material caused by prolonged action of stress or strain, but this general definition would then include creep and stress relaxation. Here, fatigue will be taken to cover only changes resulting from repeated cyclic deformation which means, in effect, long term dynamic testing. Subjecting a rubber to repeated deformation cycles results in a change in stiffness and a loss of mechanical strength. In some products, even a relatively small change in stiffness can be important, but this measure of fatigue is relatively little used, certainly not in standard tests. It would be relatively straightforward, although perhaps expensive in machine time, to continue a dynamic test as discussed in Chapter 9 over a very long period and monitor the change in modulus. Alternatively, modulus could be measured at intervals after djmamic cycling on a separate apparatus. In many products, notably tyres, it is the loss in strength shown by cracking and/or complete rupture which is considered to be the important aspect of fatigue and this is the measure of fatigue which is normally used in laboratory tests on rubbers. The manner of breakdown will vary according to the geometry of the component, the type of stressing and the environmental conditions. The mechanisms which may contribute to the breakdown include thermal degradation, oxidation and attack by ozone, as well as the basic propagation of cracks by tearing. In rubber testing, it is normal to distinguish between two types of fatigue test; tests in which the aim is to induce and/or propagate cracks without subjecting the test piece to large increases in temperature, and tests in which the prime aim is to cause heating of the specimen by the stressing process. The former type is generally referred to as flex-cracking or cut-growth tests and the latter as heat build-up. This division leaves out
246 Physical testing of rubber
specialised tests for particular products which may have characteristics of both types. For example, tyres fail by fatigue in which heat build-up is important and also suffer from groove and sidewall cracking, so that, logically, a realistic test would simulate both.
The vast majority of flex-cracking tests strain the test piece in flexure, representing the mode of deformation experienced in service by such important products as tyres, belting and footwear. Unfortunately, despite the obvious logic of this approach, there are disadvantages. The principal problem is that it is difficult to control the degree of bending, which may, for example, vary with the modulus of the rubber and, because the fatigue life of rubber will be sensitive to the magnitude of the applied strain, misleading results may be obtained. The more nearly the deformation produced in the laboratory test reproduces that experienced in service the better should be the hope of correlation. It is hardly necessary to add that most products are subjected to a most complex pattern of straining. The alternative approach is to use a simple but reproducible mode of deformation such as pure tension.
1.1 Flexing methods
A variety of flex tests have been used, many intended for particular products such as belting, footwear and coated fabrics, but a number of them, although once well known, are not now in such common use. A useful review was given by Buist and Williams in
 95 ^
Four types of machine in which bending is produced in different ways are shown schematically in Figure 12.1. The most widely known and standardised apparatus, the De Mattia, has the action shown in Figure 12.1(a). The test piece, which is a strip with a transverse groove, is fixed in two clamps which move towards each other to bend the strip into a loop. The maximum surface strain at the critical point X is somewhat indeterminate. In the 'flipper' or Torrens machine (Figure 12.1(b)), the strip test piece, fixed in a slot in the periphery of a rotating wheel, is bent against a fixed, but freely rotatable, roller. Again, the radius of curvature, and hence the maximum surface strain, is not precisely controlled. In the Du Pont machine (Figure 12.1(c)), the test pieces are connected together to form an endless belt and run over a series of pulleys of specified diameters. Although the overall radius of bending is controlled, the surface strain in the test piece is complicated by it having several transverse 'V grooves. The Ross machine (Figure 12.1(d)) bends the test piece through 90"^ over a rod and the
Fatigue 247
maximum surface strain is rather more controlled than in the other machines described. The control of minimum strain is even more important than the control of maximum strain in a flexing cycle because rate of cracking is much increased if this is zero. In all the methods described above, the strain is deliberately intended to be zero, but probably only in the Ross apparatus is this achieved precisely and in a reproducible manner. In all bending methods, the maximum strain depends on the thickness of the test piece and, hence, this must be closely controlled.
 Types of flexing test, (a) De Mattia; (b) "flipper" machine; (c) Du Pont; (d) Ross. In (a), (b) and (d) the flexed form is shown by broken Hnes.
There is now one international standard for flex testing, ISO 132^ which covers both tests for crack initiation and for cut growth. Previously, these were separated into two standards. The different significance of the two

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