June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.104.1 - 14.104.8
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.
50 Stress (MPa)
0 0 50 100 150 200 250 Strain (%)
Figure 1: A typical pictorial representation of polymeric mechanical behavior. Similar depictions are found in most elementary materials textbooks.
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