Microhardness studies of chain-extended PE: II. Creep behaviour and temperature dependence

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The variation of hardness with indentation time has been investigated for chain-extended polyethylene (PE), other PE samples crystallised under different conditions and paraffins. Hardness is shown to decrease with indentation time for all the samples investigated according to a power-law. Chain-extended PE, produced by high pressure crystallization or annealing, flows at the lowest rate under the indenter of all the PE samples considered. On the other hand, paraffins creep at the highest rate. Creep behaviour depends markedly on the crystal thickness of the material. The mechanical properties at long indentation times seem to be determined primarily by the deformation modes of the crystals. The temperature dependence of hardness and that of the creep behaviour has also been investigated. In chain-extended PE, the softening of the sample and the higher rate of creep with increasing temperature are discussed in terms of the thermal expansion of the unit cell.

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