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Innovative Manufacturing Method for Strong, Fracture-Resistant Elastomers
In the field of rubbers and elastomers, mechanical elasticity often conflicts with materials' toughness and resistance to fracture. An international team of researchers from the City of Paris Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution (ESPCI ParisTech), the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Eindhoven University of Technology, and the Netherlands-based materials company DSM Ahead have developed a new way to manufacture elastomers that are as tough - and as resistant to fracture - as elastomers reinforced by additives. The new process distributes sacrificial bonds sparsely in the bulk, so that strain energy is dissipated over a large volume rather than funneled locally to propagate a crack. The process has a strong potential for industrial implementation and paves the way to a new generation of elastomers. The researchers also introduced a general technique to display how strain energy is dissipated through bond breakage, which enables them to locate and quantify the number of bonds that actually break.
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