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A Simple, Yet Effective, Demonstration Of Polymeric Mechanical Behavior

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Outreach and Hands-on Materials

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.104.1 - 14.104.8



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Paper Authors

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Lanny Griffin

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Jeffrey Swab United States Military Academy

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Simple, Yet Effective, Demonstration of Polymeric Mechanical Behavior Abstract

Developing an appreciation for the mechanical behavior of polymers materials in a lecture mode can be challenging for students if they have not had the benefit of a laboratory experience. We have developed a simple demonstration of thermoplastic polymeric behavior using low-density polyethylene bags. The demonstration illustrates strengthening, rate effects, and directionality of strengthening and stiffness. Following the demonstration, students are better able to articulate the influence of structure, properties, processing, and performance as it applies to thermoplastic polymers.


A firm grasp of the mechanical behavior of materials is necessary for engineers to select and employ materials in engineering design. Complex material behavior, such as that of polymers, can be a challenge to present to students in the introductory materials class. While linear elasticity and plasticity are relatively intuitive behaviors and are readily illustrated using springs or deformable metals, finding simple examples to demonstrate polymeric behavior is usually reserved for the lab. Our objective was to develop a simple and inexpensive way to demonstrate thermoplastic polymeric mechanical behavior (Fig 1) that can be used to enhance understanding and support the learning in the lecture and laboratory.


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Figure 1: A typical pictorial representation of polymeric mechanical behavior. Similar depictions are found in most elementary materials textbooks.

Griffin, L., & Swab, J. (2009, June), A Simple, Yet Effective, Demonstration Of Polymeric Mechanical Behavior Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5097

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