Fracture Mechanics of Polymers

Rowan W. Truss The University of Queensland

Polymer Fracture Mechanics
fracture: creation of new surfaces within a solid compare yield & deformation: maintains continuity Fracture mechanics usually deals with brittle fracture: little plastic deformation before fracture

etc n . bulk plastic deformation. n Energy supplied by: stored elastic energy + work done by external forces n Other energy loss terms: kinetic energy.Energy Approach: Basic concept Creation of a new surface requires energy (R): surface energy + local deformation/rearrangements etc.

Energy balance P = load δ = displacement U = internal energy J or G = strain energy release rate Ek = kinetic energy Ep = plastic deformation energy P dδ = dU + J dA + dEp +dEk At fracture J = R .

Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics Elastic – energy associated with plastic deformation small n Linear – obeys Hooke’s Law n n Stress ∝ Strain n Quasi-static – kinetic energy term small .

Tearing of Rubbers Energy balance concepts of Griffith (brittle glasses) extended to tearing of rubbers by Rivlin & Thomas -1952 at crack growth τ = .dE/dA τ = energy required to produce unit area of crack. A dE/dA = energy release rate per unit area of crack .

Tearing of Rubbers Ideally rubbers are ‘non-linear elastic’ little energy dissipation remote from the crack tip Note: analysis is not dependent on ‘linear elastic behaviour’ .

stress state complex ED = ? A B C D W is strain energy density at strain ε. EB = ? Region C: in pure shear EC = VC W Region D: near surface.example: ‘pure shear’ sample Region A: contains crack .unstressed EA = 0 (strain energy density) Region B: around crack tip complex stress field. VC volume of region C .

n Region A expands at expense of Region C i.e. W. material with strain energy density. is converted material with zero strain ∆E = -W∆VC = -W t l0 ∆a -dE/dA = τ = 1/2 W l0 and .pure shear sample when crack extends ∆A n Size of Regions B and D remain the same.

e.Development of Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics n all materials are imperfect i. they contain flaws or small cracks n these cracks can grow to cause brittle fracture n cracks propagate only when specific energy conditions met .

LEFM – energy balance n n n n linear elastic solid. with a load point deflection δ work done by load is 1/2Pδ stored as elastic strain energy. containing crack of length. a loaded to P. U .

requires energy R New surface energy n Localised plastic deformation n n Energy comes from Work done by external loads n Release of strain energy n .LEFM – energy balance n Crack grows by da.

G G = Pdδ/da – dU/da which reduces to G = ½ P2dC/da where C = compliance = δ/P (Irwin.Kies) 1c .LEFM – energy balance define the strain energy release rate.

Compliance methods Obtain G1c from the fracture load and the change in compliance with crack length Rate of change of compliance with crack length n Measured experimentally n Calculated from elasticity theory n Finite elements calculations .

alternative approach: Stress analysis stresses at point near tip of a crack σx= {K /√πr} fx (θ) σy= {K /√πr} fy (θ) σz= {K /√πr} fz (θ) .

K (Stress intensity factor) n 1 refers to mode 1 opening Crack grows when stress field reaches some critical dimension. K1 n Stress field around crack tip described by term. K1c (fracture toughness) n K1c = Y σ (πa)1/2 . ie at critical K.Stress intensity factor.

plane stress E = E/(1-ν2) . E K1c2 = E* G where E = E . plane strain .K1c and G1c n K1c and G1c are related through the modulus.

high constraint -zone is small at surface no constraint .large zone Measured K depends on size of plastic zone Minimum value of K obtained when specimen so thick that effect of large zone at the edges negligible (so called plane strain conditions) .Plastic Zone n n n n n n Crack causes stress concentration High stresses → yielding & plastic deformation at crack tip near centre of thick section .

plastic zone is rounded lobe at crack tip n most polymers form extended zone coplanar with the crack n CRAZE n .Zone shape Assuming von Mises criterion for yield.

not true crack final fracture occurs by tearing mid-rib of craze .Craze Microstructure n n n voids and polymer fibrils across the surfaces (40-60% void) can still support load .

SEM n n n fracture surface shows remnants of high local plasticity local plasticity absorbs energy toughening mechanism .Fracture surface .

plane strain Plastic zone size. B > 2. W-a. Rp = 1/2π(K1c/σy)2 = 1/6π (K1c/σy)2 = π/8 (K1c/σy)2 plane stress plane strain line zone To ensure plane strain need Rp to be several times smaller than specimen dimensions a.5(K1c/σy)2 .

Strategies to obtain plane strain K1c n n n n Increase the sample dimensions (not always possible) decrease the temperature (σy increases with decreasing T faster than K1c) increase the pressure (as for decreasing T) apply brittle surface layer or estimate the energy from plane stress region .

B. n . W .specimen thickness and width resp. Ui indentation energy.‘J’ testing Samples loaded to different displacements to give different amounts of crack growth. ∆a n specimens unloaded. broken at given displacement. measure a n ‘J’ computed from area under loaddisplacement curve J = 2 (U-Ui)/B(W-a) where U .

∆a construct blunting line J = COD = 2 σy ∆a σy is yield stress intersection of blunting line and J.∆a line taken as Jc .‘J’ testing n n n Plot J v.


scales as ligament area squared . we . thin process zone co-planar with notch. scales as ligament area n plastic energy in yielded zone.Essential work of fracture Deep notched samples assumes failure energy partitioned into two: n essential work of fracture.

(W-2a) should give straight line with intercept of we and slope of βwp .Essential work of fracture i. U = we B(W-2a) + β wp (W-2a)2 where β is a geometric constant plot of U/ B(W-2a) v.e.

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