Sub critical crack advance vs. impact fracture on high impact polystyrene with different second phase volume contents and structures

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Also for polymers, many fractures in service occurs after a period in which an existing crack has propagated in a sub-critical manner, while the laboratory tests are mainly concentrated on impact fractures. Aim of this paper is then to investigate the sub critical fracture in some high impact polystyrene (HIPS) materials with different second phase volume fraction and particle size and to compare it with the outcomes of impact Fracture Mechanics experiments. Large differences in the results of the two mechanical test procedures are evidenced: the materials behaviour is then examined from the structural point of view and an interesting case of interfacial failure, which disappears at high strain rate, is attested on some HIPSs by means of different techniques, i.e. electron microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and dynamic mechanical spectroscopy, indicating that the slow crack fracture behaviour can be influenced by parameters that do not affect ordinary mechanical tests.

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