Electron Induced Fracture of Polymeric Materials
The application of high energy electrons onto a polymeric sample is known to induce electronic excitations which cause many reactions including dissociation, bond scissions and chemical reactions. Dissociation and bond scission tend to "weaken" the material while the chemical reactions tend to "strengthen" the material. It is hypothesized that the introduction of energetic electrons onto a stressed sample causes a decrease in the effective bond energy of the polymers main chains. The effect of electron bombardment was studied on the following materials: polyisoprene, polybutadiene, polyethylene, BAMO/THF (an energetic elastomer), butyl rubber, Kapton-H and Teflon. The techniques used in the study are: (1) measurement of the mechanical response of a sample mounted in a tension mode due to the electron application, (2) measurement of the change in the tear energy of an elastic material due to the electron beam and (3) generating the observed responses using a molecular dynamics computer simulation method. It was found that the force required to cause crack propagation in a sample mounted in tension decreased when the applied electron current was increased. Periodic patterns were also observed on the fracture surfaces of many of the materials which indicates that both crosslinking and chain scissions occurred in the induced fracture process. The tear energy was also observed to change with the application of the electron beam. The tear energy of polybutadiene was found to first increase (i.e. predominantly crosslinking) and then decrease (i.e. predominantly chain scissions) with increasing current while the tear energy of butyl rubber was found to steadily decrease as the current was increased. The decrease of the butyl rubber was modeled using a kinetic rate process theory that gave results that agreed well with the data. A molecular dynamics computer program was also used to model the electron induced fracture event and the failure event itself. The results obtained indicate that for the semi-crystalline polymeric model used, crazing seems to be the failure mechanism with the stress concentration factor not being an important factor.
- Pub Date:
- Physics: Fluid and Plasma