Fracture Mechanics of High Performance Nylon Fibers
Averett, Rodney Dewayne
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A fracture mechanics protocol appropriate for small fibers (35 micron diameter) is presented, which allows for the determination of the strength limitations of high performance nylon 6,6 fibers. Specifically, linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) techniques are employed in addition to elastic-plastic fracture mechanics (EPFM) theories to achieve this. We assume that a minute semi-elliptical flaw of an unknown size exists in the specimen, as a result of the detrimental effects of the manufacturing process (melt spinning). Next, we seek to propagate this flaw in a stable manner through an ancillary process such as high cycle or low cycle fatigue (load-unload). After propagation, uniaxial tensile experiments are performed on the fatigued samples, by which the crack growth eventually becomes catastrophic during the process. After performing scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques and reviewing fractography, we are able to determine the critical flaw size and ligament length that leads to unstable crack propagation. These results are substituted into the appropriate LEFM equations and are in close agreement with material properties for nylon 6,6. A discussion is provided that draws parallel to the topics discussed in the literature investigation and the experimental results of this study.