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Title: Mechanical behaviour and fracture toughness of unfilled and short fibre filled polypropylene both drawn and undrawn : experimental investigation of the effect of fibre content and draw ratio on the mechanical properties of unfilled and short glass fibre filled polypropylene
Author: Alkoles, Omar M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 7192
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2011
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The goal of this research is to investigate the combined effects of glass fibre reinforcement and molecular orientation in polypropylene-short glass fibre composites. Specimens have been fabricated using the injection moulding process and drawn using a small die drawing rig. The effects of die drawing on the fibre composites are complex, with the drawing process orienting both the polymer molecules and the glass fibres. This may be accompanied by the creation of voids in the polymer matrix and their destruction in the compressive stress field thus restoring the interfacial contact area between fibre and matrix. Unfilled and short glass fibre filled polypropylene specimens, with fibre content 7% wt, 13%wt, 27%wt, and 55%wt, were injection moulded prior to the die drawing process. An experimental program of die drawing within an oven at elevated temperature was conducted for polypropylene filled to various levels and at different strain rates. The specimens drew to draw ratios in the range γ=1.41 to γ=5.6. Mechanical characterization of the test materials has been conducted by examining the tensile stress strain and fracture behaviour under uniaxial conditions. The influence of glass fibre content and drawing conditions (draw ratio) on the fracture toughness and crack propagation was investigated using the double edge notched fracture test. The notch lengths ranged from 1.5 to 2.5 mm for 10 mm wide specimens. The critical stress intensity factor increased as the fibre content increased up to a limiting filler level. The fracture toughness of both unfilled and fibre filled polypropylene were found to be highly dependent on draw ratio. The results were analysed to find out the optimal draw ratio and fibre content that yielded the maximum modulus, strength and fracture toughness. Data showed that, at a given draw ratio, modulus, strength and fracture toughness increased with increasing fibre content to a maximum and then decreased. The optimum material was obtained at a draw ratio of 2.5 and filler loading 13wt%.
Supervisor: Caton-Rose, Philip D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Polypropylene ; Fibre composite ; Glass fibre ; Die-drawing ; Mechanical properties ; Molecular orientation ; Fracture toughness ; Critical stress ; Intensity factor ; Finite element method ; Finite width correction factor