Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 448–459 | Cite as

Analysis of the essential work of fracture method as applied to UHMWPE

  • S. Naz
  • J. SweeneyEmail author
  • P. D. Coates


The validity of the basic assumptions behind the method of essential work of fracture (EWF), as applied to ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), is evaluated using finite element modelling. To define a suitable model of constitutive behaviour, the mechanical properties of UHMWPE have been measured in both uniaxial tension and compression over a range of strain rates. The observed strain rate dependence of stress, including the observed differences in strain rate sensitivity between tension and compression, is interpreted in terms of a single Eyring process. The constitutive theory is constructed comprising an Eyring process and hyperelastic networks, the latter having responses symmetric with respect to tension and compression. This theory is implemented within a finite element scheme, and used to model fracture measurements made on the same material using double-edge notch tensile specimens. Calculations of the non-essential work and of the extent of the plastic zones are thus made possible. It is concluded that the specific non-essential work is essentially constant, but that the shape factor β, assumed constant in the conventional analysis, varies significantly with ligament length. The implication of this finding on the derived EWF value is evaluated and found to be slight.


Plastic Zone Crack Opening Displacement UHMWPE Crack Opening Displacement Strain Rate Dependence 



We wish to thank Dr. Neil Hubbard, Orthoplastics, Todmorden Road, Bacup, Lancs, UK for supply of material. We acknowledge funding from EPSRC for Dr. Naz under the Doctoral Training scheme.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Engineering, Design and Technology/IRC in Polymer Science and TechnologyUniversity of BradfordBradfordUK
  2. 2.Ford Motor CompanyDagenham Diesel CentreDagenhamUK

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