Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 17, Issue 7, pp 1871–1879 | Cite as

The competition between shear deformation and crazing in glassy polymers

  • Athene M. Donald
  • Edward J. Kramer


Whereas thin films of some polymers such as polystyrene readily form crazes when strained in tension, thin films of other polymers such as polycarbonate rarely exhibit crazing under the same testing conditions; the polymers that rarely craze tend to form regions of shear deformation instead. Polymers such as polystyrene-acrylonitrile which lie between these two extremes of behaviour may exhibit both modes of deformation. Thin films suitable for optical and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of six such co-polymers and polymer blends have been prepared. After straining, the nature of the competition between shear deformation and crazing is examined by TEM. It is found that in these polymers many crazes have tips which are blunted by shear deformation. This process leads to stress relaxation at the craze tip, preventing further tip advance. In this way short, but broad, cigar-shaped crazes are formed. Examination of the deformation at crack tips in the same polymers shows more complex structures, the initial high stress levels lead to chain scission and fibrillation but as the stress drops, shear becomes the dominant mechanism of deformation and the stress is relieved further. Finally, at long times under stress, chain disentanglement may become important leading to fibrillation and craze formation again. The nature of the competition is thus seen to be both stress and time dependent. Physical ageing of these polymers, via annealing below Tg, suppresses shear leading to the generation of more simple craze structures.


Polymer Transmission Electron Microscopy Polycarbonate Scission Shear Deformation 
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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Athene M. Donald
    • 1
  • Edward J. Kramer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Materials Science CenterCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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