The resistance to mode I failure of rubbers is studied by submitting single edge notch samples to uniaxial tension. Reproducing the seminal work of Rivlin and Thomas (J Polym Sci 10:291–318, 1953), single edge notch tension specimens, presenting notches of various lengths, are stretched until break. A styrene butadiene rubber, unfilled and filled with carbon-black, and an unfilled rubber from the latter mentioned work, were considered. When the notch is smaller than one fifth of the sample width, mode I crack opening is observed, leading to catastrophic failure that creates smooth mirror-like crack surfaces. Nonetheless, the experimental force-elongation responses show that the mode I critical energy release rate cannot be calculated by a classical Griffith elastic failure analysis. When notches are longer, the SENT samples are not submitted to pure uniaxial tension only. Structural bending leads to uncontrolled mixed mode crack propagation. The surfaces created when the long notches propagate are rough and bifurcations are witnessed for the filled rubbers.
SENT tests Strain energy release rate Mode I Rubbers Carbon-black
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