Influence of molecular weight and branch content on the fracture behaviour of polyethylene
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The fracture behaviour of a range of polyethylenes with different molecular weights and side group content has been studied by means of a novel high-pressure tensile testing facility. The normally ductile specimens became brittle at high pressures, e.g. 700 MPa, so that the test results could be studied by means of linear elastic fracture mechanics. Oriented specimens were prepared by die-drawing to draw ratios of 5∶1 and 9.5∶1. The performance of the isotropic and oriented (longitudinal and transverse directions) materials were assessed using their KIC values. Results were carefully compared in order to study the effects of molecular weight and low concentrations of small side groups on the fracture behaviour of polyethylene. The structure of the oriented polymers was characterised using wide-angle X-ray diffraction.
KeywordsPolymer Molecular Weight Polyethylene Brittle Tensile Testing
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