The rate dependence of fracture has been studied in a series of physically associating triblock copolymer gels that have a well-defined molecular structure. Compressive experiments were performed to develop a strain energy function that accurately captures the strain hardening behavior of these materials. This same strain energy function was utilized in a finite element model of the crack tip stresses, which become highly anisotropic at stress values below the failure strength of the gels. The rate dependence of the energy release rate, G, is independent of the gel concentration when G is normalized by the small strain Young's modulus, E. The gels exhibit a transition from rough, slow crack propagation to smooth, fast crack propagation for a well-defined value of the characteristic length, G/E.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics