Fracture and Failure Characterization of Transparent Acrylic Based Graft Interpenetrating Polymer Networks (Graft-IPNs)

  • Balamurugan M. SundaramEmail author
  • Ricardo B. Mendez
  • Hareesh V. Tippur
  • Maria L. Auad
Conference paper
Part of the Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series book series (CPSEMS)


IPNs are made of two or more polymer networks, each polymerized in the presence of the other/s. They can be suitable alternatives to traditional polymers made from single monomer as desirable characteristics of the constituent polymers can be engineered into IPNs. In this study, an acrylic-based transparent graft Interpenetrating Polymer Networks or simply graft-IPNs were processed and their mechanical properties in general and fracture/failure behaviors in particular were characterized. Good optical transparency, high fracture toughness, and high stiffness were among the attributes targeted in the graft-IPNs for potential transparent armor applications. The graft-IPNs were synthesized by sequential polymerization of compliant elastomeric polyurethane (PU) phase and a stiff acrylate-based copolymer (CoP) phase to generate crosslinks (or, ‘grafts’) between the two networks. A series of such graft-IPNs were synthesized by varying the ratios of CoP:PU. Uniaxial tension tests were performed on the resulting IPNs to measure the elastic modulus and strength whereas mode-I fracture toughness was measured under both quasi-static and dynamic loading conditions. A Hopkinson pressure bar was used in conjunction with an optical technique called Digital Gradient Sensing (DGS) and ultrahigh-speed photography to measure the fracture behavior during stress wave loading. The results show significant enhancements in the crack initiation toughness for some of the graft-IPN compositions relative to the constituents as well as commercially procured PMMA and polycarbonate (PC) sheet stocks. Besides the optical transparency, the increase in fracture toughness is attributed to the grafts or crosslinks generated between the PU and CoP networks.


Digital gradient sensing Transparent material Interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) Dynamic fracture Material characterization 



The authors would like to thank the U.S. Army Research Office for supporting this research through grant W911NF-16-1-0093.


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Copyright information

© The Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Balamurugan M. Sundaram
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ricardo B. Mendez
    • 2
  • Hareesh V. Tippur
    • 1
  • Maria L. Auad
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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