Time to failure prediction in rubber components subjected to thermal ageing: A combined approach based upon the intrinsic defect concept and the fracture mechanics
Article dans une revue avec comité de lecture
JournalMechanics of Materials
In this contribution, we attempt to derive a tool allowing the prediction of the stretch ratioat failure in rubber components subjected to thermal ageing. To achieve this goal, the mainidea is to combine the fracture mechanics approach and the intrinsic defect concept. Using an accelerated ageing procedure for an Ethylene–Propylene–Diene Monomer (EPDM), it is first shown that the average molar mass of the elastically active chains (i.e. between crosslinks) can be used as the main indicator of the macromolecular network degradation. Byintroducing the time–temperature equivalence principle, a shift factor obeying to an Arrhenius law is derived, and master curves are built as well for the average molar mass as for the ultimate mechanical properties. Fracture mechanics tests are also achieved and the square root dependence of the fracture energy with the average molar mass is pointed out. Moreover, it is shown that the mechanical response could be approximated by the phantom network theory, which allows to relate the strain energy density function to the average molar mass. Assuming that the fracture of a smooth specimen is the consequence of a virtual intrinsic defect whose the size can be easily estimated, the stretch ratio at break can be therefore computed for any thermal ageing condition. The estimated values are found in a very nice agreement with EPDM experimental data, making this approach a useful tool when designing rubber components for moderate to high temperature environments.
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