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Microdeformation and Fracture in Bulk Polyolefins

  • Christopher J. G. PlummerEmail author
Part of the Advances in Polymer Science book series (POLYMER, volume 169)

Abstract

The fracture properties and microdeformation behaviour and their correlation with structure in commercial bulk polyolefins are reviewed. Emphasis is on crack-tip deformation mechanisms and on regimes of direct practical interest, namely slow crack growth in polyethylene and high-speed ductile–brittle transitions in isotactic polypropylene. Recent fracture studies of reaction-bonded interfaces are also briefly considered, these representing promising model systems for the investigation of the relationship between the fundamental mechanisms of crack-tip deformation and fracture and molecular structure.

Keywords

Polyethylene Polypropylene Microdeformation Fracture Slow crack growth 

Abbreviations

a

Crack length (m)

ȧ

Crack speed (m s−1)

ȧo

Scaling constant (m s−1)

AFM

Atomic force microscopy

α

Craze anisotropy factor

BSE

Backscattered electron

CT

Compact tension

χ

Flory-Huggins interaction parameter

D

Craze fibril spacing (m)

de

Entanglement spacing (m)

δ

Crack opening displacement (m)

δc

Critical crack opening displacement (m)

DENT

Double edge-notched tension

E

Young’s modulus (GPa)

EP

Ethylene-propylene copolymer

EPR

Ethylene-propylene rubber

EPDM

Ethylene-propylene-diene monomer

εb

Elongation at break

ε̇

Strain rate (s−1)

ε̇o

Scaling constant (s−1)

ESC

Environmental stress cracking

ESR

Electron resonance spectroscopy

EWF

Essential work of fracture (J m−2)

FEG-SEM

Field emission gun scanning electron microscopy

FNCT

Full notch creep test

Gc

Critical strain energy release rate (J m−2)

GIc

Mode I plane strain critical strain energy release rate (J m−2)

HDPE

High density polyethylene

iPP

Isotactic polypropylene

Jc

Critical non-linear strain energy release rate (J m−2)

K

Stress intensity factor (MPa m1/2)

Kc

Critical stress intensity factor (MPa m1/2)

Kco

Scaling constant (MPa m1/2)

KIc

Mode I plane strain critical stress intensity factor (MPa m1/2)

Kmax

Maximum stress intensity factor (MPa m1/2) (cyclic tests)

l

Fibrillar zone length (m)

lo

Statistical step length (m)

LDPE

Low density polyethylene

LLDPE

Linear low density polyethylene

LEFM

Linear elastic fracture mechanics

MDPE

Medium density polyethylene

M

Molar mass (g mol−1)

Me

Entanglement molar mass (g mol−1)

Mw

Weight average molar mass (g mol−1)

MWD

Molecular weight distribution

MAH

Maleic anhydride

μ

Poisson’s ratio

n

Power law exponent

νe

Entanglement density (m−3)

OM

Optical microscopy

PA6

Polyamide 6

PE

Polyethylene

PP

Polypropylene

R

Ratio of maximum to minimum K (cyclic tests)

RCP

Rapid crack propagation

SAXS

Small angle X-ray scattering

SCG

Slow crack growth

SEM

Scanning electron microscopy

SSY

Small scale yielding

Σ

Interfacial crossing density (m−2)

σ

Stress (MPa)

σc

Craze widening stress (MPa)

σf

Fibril breakdown stress (MPa)

σy

Tensile yield stress (MPa)

σyo

Scaling constant (MPa)

T

Temperature (°C)

t

Time (s)

tb

Time to break (s)

tc

Fibril breakdown time (s)

τ

Time constant (s)

T1, T2

Temperatures in non-isothermal welding (°C)

TEM

Transmission electron microscopy

Tg

Glass transition temperature (°C)

Ti

Interface temperature during welding (°C)

Tm

Melting temperature (°C)

UHMWPE

Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene

v

Test speed (m s−1)

vf

Fibril volume fraction

w

Interface width (m)

WAXS

Wide angle X-ray scattering

ξ

Creep rate coefficient (m s−1)

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Notes

Acknowledgements

The author acknowledges the technical support of the Centre Interdépartemental de Microscopie Electronique (CIME) of the EPFL and H.-H. Kausch, J.-A.E. Månson, C. Grein, P. Béguelin, R. Gensler, C. Creton, F. Kalb, L. Léger, A. Ghanem, A. Goldberg, P.-E. Bourban, G. Smith and many others for the opportunity to be actively involved in various aspects of this work.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Technologie de Composites et Polymères (LTC), Institut des MatériauxEcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)LausanneSwitzerland

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