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Title:Fracture-induced mechanophore activation and solvent healing in poly(methyl methacrylate)
Author(s):Celestine, Asha-Dee
Director of Research:White, Scott R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):White, Scott R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Sottos, Nancy R.; Geubelle, Philippe H.; Chew, Huck Beng
Department / Program:Aerospace Engineering
Discipline:Aerospace Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)
Abstract:The design of new materials for structural applications has continually drawn inspiration from biological systems. Two key functionalities persistent throughout nature are the ability to detect damage and then repair that damage. Within recent years there has been a dedicated drive towards the design of polymers and polymer matrix composites which possess these two qualities. Damage detection is a highly desirable functionality in engineering materials. The potential of using mechanophores, stress-sensitive molecules, as material stress sensors has been established through tensile, compressive and shear tests. Spiropyran (SP) has been the chosen mechanophore and this molecule undergoes a ring opening reaction (activation) upon the application of mechanical stress. This activation is accompanied by a change in color and fluorescence as the colorless SP is converted to the highly colored merocyanine (MC) form. One requirement for SP activation in bulk polymers is large scale plastic deformation. In order to induce this plastic deformation during fracture testing of SP-linked brittle polymers such as poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), rubber nanoparticles can be incorporated into the matrix material. These nanoparticles facilitate the increased shear yielding necessary for SP activation during mechanical testing. Cross-linked SP-PMMA, containing 7.3 wt% rubber nanoparticles is synthesized via a free radical polymerization. Specimens of this material are fabricated for Single Edge Notch Tension (SENT) testing. The rubber toughened SP-PMMA specimens are first prestretched to approximately 35% axial strain to align the spiropyran molecules in the direction of applied force and thus increase the likelihood of fracture-induced activation. After prestretching the specimens are pre-notched and irradiated with 532 nm wavelength light to revert the colored merocyanine to the colorless spiropyran form. Specimens are then fracture tested to failure using the SENT test. The evolution of mechanophore activation is monitored via in situ fluorescence imaging and inspection of the specimens after testing. Activation of the SP is observed ahead of the crack tip and along the propagated crack. Also, the degree of activation is found to increase with crack growth and the size of the activation zone is linearly correlated to the size of the plastic zone ahead of the crack tip. Control specimens in which the mechanophore is absent or tethered in positions in which no mechanochemical activation is expected are also tested and exhibit no change in color or fluorescence intensity with crack propagation. The relationship between fracture-induced mechanophore activation in rubber toughened SP-PMMA and the strain and stress ahead of the propagating crack is also studied. SP activation is again detected and quantified by in situ fluorescence imaging. Digital Image Correlation (DIC) is used to measure the strain ahead of the crack tip. The corresponding stress is generated through the use of the Hutchinson-Rice-Rosengren (HRR) singularity field equations. Mechanophore activation ahead of the crack tip is shown to follow a power law distribution that is closely aligned with strain. The potential of SP as a damage sensor is explored further by incorporating the spiropyran into the core of rubber nanoparticles. SP-linked rubber nanoparticles are synthesized using a seeded emulsion polymerization process and incorporated into cross-linked PMMA at a concentration of 5 wt%. Cylindrical specimens are torsion tested and the activation of the SP within the nanoparticles is monitored via full field fluorescence imaging. SP activation within the core is shown to increase with shear strain. Autonomous damage repair in PMMA is also investigated. The first demonstration of fully autonomous self-healing in PMMA is achieved through the use of solvent microcapsules. Solvent microcapsules with a PMMA-anisole liquid core are prepared and embedded within a linear PMMA matrix. Specimens of the microcapsule-loaded material are then fabricated for Double Cleavage Drilled Compression (DCDC) fracture testing. The DCDC specimens, containing increasing concentrations of solvent microcapsules, are tested and then allowed to heal for a fixed period of time before a second DCDC test. The healing efficiency of each material system is evaluated based on the recovery of fracture toughness and is shown to be dependent on healing time and microcapsule concentration.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Asha-Dee N. Celestine
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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