Characterization of strain bursts in high density polyethylene by means of a novel nano creep test

Harald R. Wilhelm, Florian Spieckermann, C. Fischer, Geralt Polt, Michael J. Zehetbauer

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Recent nanoindentation experiments have shown that in semi-crystalline polymers, strain bursts emerge during creep experiments. A shortcome of nanoindentation is that due to the inhomogeneous stress field, a critical stress for the onset of strain bursts cannot be determined, and the resolution of the method seems to be limited. Since the strain bursts in polymers are in the nm range, an extremely high resolution in deformation measurement is necessary. Such a resolution is provided by modern solid state rheometers having a resolution < 10 -6 rad. With such a facility, in this work single strain bursts in PE-HD have been investigated in creep mode at stresses as low as < 0.5MPa. As the strain bursts only occur rarely, hundreds of creep experiments were carried out and evaluated statistically. Through variation of the temperature and the stress, the activation energy for the strain bursts was determined as 0.65 (±0.06) eV. In addition, negative strain bursts (contrary to the direction of deformation) with an activation energy of 0.49 (±0.08) eV and post-oscillations after strain bursts could be observed for the first time. In summary the new method represents a powerful tool for a quantitative characterization of strain bursts and gives a new insight to dislocation kinetics in semi-crystalline polymers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-313
Number of pages17
JournalInternational journal of plasticity
Issue numberMay
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2019


  • Crystal plasticity
  • Dislocation avalanches
  • Dislocations
  • Mechanical testing
  • Polymeric material

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