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High Strain Rate Testing of Polymers

Technical Challenge:
Polymeric materials are frequently used in impact applications where strain rates can exceed 1000/s (i.e. helmets, protective eyewear, enclosures for electronics, etc.). Many of the materials used for such applications (polycarbonate, ABS, etc.) are known to be strain rate-dependent. However, there is frequently little to no information about the polymer behavior as a function of strain rate. Furthermore, there are few constitutive models available in commercial finite element codes that are capable of adequately capturing the nonlinear, viscoplastic flow behavior of these materials over several decades of strain rate.                

Veryst Solution:
Veryst has developed a suite of experimental and modeling capabilities ideally suited for capturing the high strain rate behavior of polymers. One system available at Veryst, the Split Hopkinson Pressure Bar (SHPB) system, is commonly used for testing thermoplastic materials at strain rates up to a few 1000/s in compression. An example of a SHPB test on polycarbonate is provided below. Data from these tests can be combined with traditional uniaxial tests at slower rates to understand the rate-dependent response of a material. Veryst’s MCalibration software can then be used to calibrate an appropriate nonlinear, rate-dependent material model from its PolyUMod library. The results of such a testing and calibration process are shown below. This calibrated model can then be used to model polymeric components in commercial finite element codes such as Abaqus, ANSYS, and LS-DYNA.


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