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A study of the effect of molecular weight on the tensile strength of ultra-high modulus polyethylenes

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Abstract

In this paper the influence of molecular weight and molecular weight distribution on the tensile strength (tenacity) of melt spun and drawn linear polyethylene are investigated with the aim of outlining the requirements for a high strength fibre. The tenacity was investigated over the molecular weight average ¯M w range 60×103 to 330×103 with polydispersities ¯M wM n ranging from 1.1 to 13.3. It was found that both molecular weight and its distribution affected tensile strength. The drawing conditions were also found to be important, a high draw temperature and a high draw ratio being needed for a high strength, high modulus fibre. By using a polymer of high ¯M w and low polydispersity, and drawing at the optimum conditions, strengths of 1.65 GPa and moduli of 85 GPa have been achieved for test temperatures of −55° C.

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Hallam, M.A., Cansfield, D.L.M., Ward, I.M. et al. A study of the effect of molecular weight on the tensile strength of ultra-high modulus polyethylenes. J Mater Sci 21, 4199–4205 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01106531

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Keywords

  • Molecular Weight
  • Tensile Strength
  • Molecular Weight Distribution
  • Draw Ratio
  • High Modulus