Multi-scale experimental analysis of rate dependent metal-elastomer interface mechanics

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A remarkable high fracture toughness is sometimes observed for interfaces between materials with a large elastic mismatch, which is reported to be caused by the fibrillar microstructure appearing in the fracture process zone. In this work, this fibrillation mechanism is investigated further to investigate how this mechanism is dissipating energy. For that purpose, thermoplastic urethane(TPU)-copper interfaces are delaminated at various rates in a peel test experimental setup. The fracture process zone is visualized in situ at the meso scale using optical microscopy and at the micro scale using Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM). It is shown that the geometry of the fracture process zone is insensitive to the delamination rate, while the interface traction scales logarithmically with the rate. This research has revealed that, the interface roughness is shown to be pivotal in initiating the fibrillation delamination process, which facilitates the high fracture toughness. The multi-scale experimental approach identified two mechanism responsible for this high fracture toughness. Namely, the viscous dissipation of the TPU at the high strain levels occurring in the fibrils and the loss of stored elastic energy which is disjointed from the propagation due to the size of the process zone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-36
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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