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Brittle‐ductile transition in uniaxial compression of polymer glasses

Liu, Jianning, Zhao, Zhichen, Wang, Weiyu, Mays, Jimmy W., Wang, Shi‐Qing
Journal of polymer science 2019 v.57 no.12 pp. 758-770
ambient temperature, brittleness, cold, melting, molecular weight, polymethylmethacrylate, polystyrenes
We carried out a large set of tests to establish a correlation between the molecular (network) structure (influenced by molecular weight, molecular weight distribution, and melt predeformation) and mechanical responses of several glassy polymers to uniaxial compression at different temperatures and different compression speeds. The experimental results show that to have ductile responses there must be an adequate chain network, afforded by the interchain uncrossability among sufficiently long chains. Specifically, polystyrene (PS) and poly(methyl methacrylate) of sufficiently low molar mass do not have chain network and are found to be very brittle. Binary PS mixtures are brittle at room temperature when the volume fraction of the high‐molecular‐weight component is sufficiently low (e.g., at and below 27.5%). Moreover, sufficiently melt‐stretched PS mixtures show brittle fracture when compressed along the same direction, along which melt stretching was made. All the experimental findings confirm that a robust chain network is also a prerequisite for yielding and ductile cold compression of polymer glasses, as is for extension. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2019, 57, 758–770