Many polymeric materials undergo substantial plastic strain prior to failure. Much of this post yield deformation is dissipative and, at high strain rates, will result in a substantial temperature rise in the material. In this paper, an infrared (IR) detector system is constructed to measure the rise in temperature of a polymer during high strain rate compression testing. Temperature measurements were made using a high-speed mercury-cadmium-telluride (HgCdTe) single-element photovoltaic detector sensitive in the mid-infrared spectrum (612μm), while mechanical deformation was accomplished in a split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB). Two representative polymers, an amorphous thermoplastic (polycarbonate (PC)) and a thermoset epoxy (EPON 862/W), were tested in uniaxial compression at strain rates greater than 1000s1 while simultaneously measuring the specimen temperature as a function of strain. For comparison purposes, analogous measurements were conducted on these materials tested at a strain rate of 0.5s1 on another test system. The data are further reduced to energy quantities revealing the dissipative versus storage character of the post yield work of deformation. The fraction of post yield work that is dissipative was found to be a strong function of strain for both polymers. Furthermore, a greater percentage of work is found to be dissipative at high rates of strain (>1000s1) than at the lower rate of strain (0.5s1) for both polymers; this is consistent with the need to overcome an additional energy barrier to yield at strain rates greater than 100s1 in these two polymers. The highly cross-linked thermoset polymer was found to store a greater percentage of the post yield work of deformation than the physically entangled thermoplastic.

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