The Influence of Chemical Structure on the Strength of Rubber
The detailed chemical structure of the polymer molecule has surprisingly little effect upon many of the important physical properties of crosslinked elastomers. For example, the elastic modulus, extensibility, tensile strength and tear strength are all much the same for many common elastomers. However, the strength of elastomers under some conditions is strikingly different. Two particular modes of fracture are considered here: tearing, and abrasive wear. Certain elastomers crystallize rapidly on stretching and become self-reinforcing, so that their tear strength is greatly enhanced. Factors that govern the speed of strain-induced crystallization are reviewed. In abrasive wear, the macroradicals generated by molecular rupture are highly reactive and their reactions affect both the nature and the extent of wear. The wear processes that occur in various reinforced elastomers are described and compared.
KeywordsEntropy Fatigue Crystallization Polyethylene Hydrocarbon
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