Viscoelastic behaviour of poly(methyl methacrylate) and polystyrene.
Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and polystyrene (PS), which are fully amorphous polymers, have been extensively studied for over a decade to discover how their mechanical behaviours vary with temperatures and strain rates. In this study, Mechanical tests were carried out at a range of strain rates and temperatures using a Hounsfield H50KM Test Machine wluch provides quasi- static rates (10-4 - 10-3 S-l) and low strain rates (10-2 - 10-1 S-l), and an in-house built Dropweight Machine which provides high strain rates (102 - 103 S-l) Mechanical tests were also performed in a high-speed photographic system, which provides high strain rates (103 S-l), to visualise the deformation of the polymers at a range of temperatures. An aluminium-heating block was built to heat up the samples to the required temperature. Strain limited tests were carried out at a range of strain rates and temperatures. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) was employed to study the glass transition temperatures and the specific heats of the samples. Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analysis (DMTA) was adopted to study the transitions in the samples and the change of moduli with temperature densities of samples before and after high strain rate compression at certain strain were measured using a Six Column Density Apparatus The polarising microscope was used to study the orientation of the polymer chains at a range of temperatures, strains and strain rates. Eyring's theory of viscous flow was applied on yield point, 20% and 30% strain to relate the activation energy and volume with strain rate and temperature from the thermodynamic perspective. Temperature rise was calculated for high strain rate data to fit into the isothermal curve for the application of Eyring's theory and to obtain the actual smnple temperature at which the deformation took place. PMMA and PS showed ductile behaviour when tested at quasi-static and low strain rates at temperatures below their ductile-brittle transition temperatures. The densities of samples were not found to increase at different strains. The orientations of polymer chains did not influence the increase at Yield stress at high strain rates. The interpretation of activation energy and volume provided information of how the flows of chains took place at different temperatures and strain rates.