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Toughening elastomers via microstructured thermoplastic fibers with sacrificial bonds and hidden lengths

Shibo Zou, Daniel Therriault, Frédérick Gosselin

Article (2021)

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Soft materials capable of large inelastic deformation play an essential role in high-performance nacre-inspired architectured materials with a combination of stiffness, strength and toughness. The rigid “building blocks” made from glass or ceramic in these architectured materials lack inelastic deformation capabilities and thus rely on the soft interface material that bonds together these building blocks to achieve large deformation and high toughness. Here, we demonstrate the concept of achieving large inelastic deformation and high energy dissipation in soft materials by embedding microstructured thermoplastic fibers with sacrificial bonds and hidden lengths in a widely used elastomer. The microstructured fibers are fabricated by harnessing the fluid-mechanical instability of a molten polycarbonate (PC) thread on a commercial 3D printer. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) resin is infiltrated around the fibers, creating a soft composite after curing. The failure mechanism and damage tolerance of the composite are analyzed through fracture tests. The high energy dissipation is found to be related to the multiple fracture events of both the sacrificial bonds and elastomer matrix. Combining the microstructured fibers and straight fibers in the elastomer composite results in a ~ 17 times increase in stiffness and a ~ 7 times increase in total energy to failure compared to the neat elastomer. Our findings in applying the sacrificial bonds and hidden lengths toughening mechanism in soft materials at the microscopic scale will facilitate the development of novel bioinspired laminated composite materials with high mechanical performance.

Uncontrolled Keywords

3D printing; instability; stretchable materials; energy dissipation; damage tolerance

Subjects: 2000 Materials science and technology > 2001 Materials structure, properties and testing
2000 Materials science and technology > 2004 Polymers and coatings
2100 Mechanical engineering > 2100 Mechanical engineering
Department: Department of Mechanical Engineering
Research Center: CREPEC - Center for Applied Research on Polymers and Composites
LM2 - Laboratory for Multi-scale Mechanics
Funders: Fonds de Recherche du Québec: Nature et Technologies (FRQNT), CRSNG/NSERC, Canadian Foundation for Innovation
Grant number: 63014, 175791953
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/10430/
Journal Title: Extreme Mechanics Letters (vol. 43)
Publisher: Elsevier
DOI: 10.1016/j.eml.2021.101208
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eml.2021.101208
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2022 10:26
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2022 05:02
Cite in APA 7: Zou, S., Therriault, D., & Gosselin, F. (2021). Toughening elastomers via microstructured thermoplastic fibers with sacrificial bonds and hidden lengths. Extreme Mechanics Letters, 43, 101208 (9 pages). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eml.2021.101208


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