Low Density Polyethylene, Expanded Polystyrene and Expanded Polypropylene: Strain Rate and Size Effects on Mechanical Properties
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Polymeric foam materials may be used as energy absorbing materials for protection in impact scenarios, and design with these materials requires the mechanical properties of foams across a range of deformation rates, where high deformation rate testing often requires small samples for testing. Owing to their cellular macrostructure, and the large deformations that occur during loading of foams, the measured stress‐strain response of a foam material may be influenced by the sample size. In this study, the mechanical properties of three closed‐cell polymeric foams (Low Density Polyethylene, Expanded Polystyrene and Expanded Polypropylene) at two different densities were investigated over a range of deformation rates from 0.01 s‐1 to 100 s‐1. For each foam material, three different nominal sample sizes (10mm, 17mm and 35 mm) were tested. On average, the polymeric foam materials exhibited increasing stress with increasing deformation rate, for a given amount of strain. Density variation was identified at the sample level, with smaller samples often exhibiting lower density. Expanded Polystyrene demonstrated the highest variability in sample density and corresponding variability in mechanical response, qualitatively supported by observed variations in the macrostructure of the foam. Expanded Polypropylene exhibited variability in density with sample size, and observable variability in the material macrostructure; however, the dependence of the measured mechanical properties on sample size was modest. Low Density Polyethylene was found to have a relatively consistent cell size at the macrostructure level, and the material density did not vary significantly with sample size. In a similar manner, the dependence of measured mechanical properties on sample size was modest. The effect of sample size was identified to be material specific, and it is recommended that this be assessed using sample‐specific density measurements and considering different sized samples when testing foam materials.
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Duane Cronin, Simon Ouellet (2016). Low Density Polyethylene, Expanded Polystyrene and Expanded Polypropylene: Strain Rate and Size Effects on Mechanical Properties. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19190