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Glassy Polymers I—Thermoplastics

A. Kinloch, R. Young
Published 1995 · Materials Science

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Many of the classical studies upon the fracture behaviour of polymers have been concerned with the fracture of glassy thermoplastics, with perhaps the most important work concerned with poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), polystyrene (PS) and polycarbonate (PC). The reasons for this are manyfold. Thermoplastics are very simple materials from a structural viewpoint, compared with either thermosets which have a complex three-dimensional molecular structure or semicrystalline polymers with a great variety of morphological forms. Glassy thermoplastics are also transparent and have well-defined and easily observed craze structures. Unlike semicrystalline polymers the mechanical properties of glassy thermoplastics are not strongly dependent upon fabrication conditions or variations between different batches and this makes it possible to correlate the results of different groups of workers. Most of the recent advances in the understanding of the fracture of glassy thermoplastics have been through the application of linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM, Section 3.2.2) which is applicable since their bulk deformation is approximately linear elastic and plastic deformation is concentrated in a region close to the crack tip.
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