11R20. Mechanical Evaluation Strategies for Plastics Materials. - DR Moore (ICI Tech, Witton Res Center, UK) and S Turner (Queen Mary and Westfield Col, Univ of London, UK). Woodhead Publ Ltd, Cambridge, UK. 2001. 328 pp. ISBN 1-85573-379-X. $195.00.

Reviewed by KL Murty (Dept of Nucl Eng and Mat Sci and Eng, N Carolina State Univ, PO Box 7909, Raleigh NC 27695-7909).

The authors of this book on the evaluation of mechanical and fracture properties of plastics apparently had extensive experience on the subject during their association with ICI’s research department. As per the Preface by an unspecified person, the book “contains strategies for experimental approaches to stiffness, strength and toughness testing” of plastic materials. The presentation style of the book is quite different from the norm, and many short numbered sections comprise each of the chapters, apparently not to deviate from the main thrust of the chapter. The supplements following the sections of the chapter were to cover the respective details referring back to the numbered sections. This reviewer’s initial impression after reading the first chapter was that it is refreshingly new; however, when it came to real subject matters in the second chapter onwards, the arrangement was found to be rather annoying and perhaps not very useful, and unserving. Lack of headings for sections in the chapter makes it difficult to follow the subject matter, and one has to refer to the numbered sections and supplements to match and follow the descriptions.

Following a detailed introduction (Ch 1) of 33 pages, the authors deal with the general aspects of modulus, ductility, and stiffness, as well as toughness in the second chapter while these subjects are covered (along with the definitions, again) in the subsequent chapters. Modulus is covered in more than four chapters. The determination from constant deformation rate tests (Ch 4), sinusoidal excitation tests (Ch 5), and step-function excitation tests (Ch 6) are followed by anisotropy in Chapter 7. Chapter 6 on Step-Function Excitation Tests is essentially creep and relaxation testing, and the nomenclature used by the authors is confusing. Larsen-Miller parameter (p 191) is the only parameter covered in these chapters with no mention of others such as Monkman-Grant, Sherby-Dorn, etc. Chapter 7 on anisotropic modulus and stiffness contains enough details but very few examples are included.

The subsequent chapters, from 8 onward, deal with the strength, ductility, and toughness—again, one full chapter is de-voted to the so-called general principles wherein simple fundamental aspects are described. The sequence covered in the chapter is in the reverse order of the title with toughness followed by ductility and strength. The experimental evaluations of these parameters under constant loading are covered in Chapter 9, which also included good detail on Considere’s construction for determination of necking strain, tensile strength, etc, as well as Kc tests and data. The correlation between the ductility and toughness is nicely illustrated. The chapter entitled strength and ductility from step-function and cyclic excitations are essentially creep, fatigue, and fatigue crack-growth albeit very basic aspects are dealt with. Section S10.11, on Environmental stress cracking, contains a brief discussion on stress corrosion cracking of plastics, with Figs. S10.11/1 and S10.11/2 illustrating examples of the static fatigue (although the authors did not use this word). Section S10.15 is an excellent example of the engineering design of a water storage tank using creep and fatigue data. The ductility under impact loading was the subject matter of the last and final chapter that contained good illustrating examples. The sections in Chapter 11 cover some interesting practical examples such as the optimum coating thickness for avoiding brittle fracture, effect of thickness for impact resistance of flexed plate, etc.

The authors’ emphasis throughout the book is on the rationale for data generation, selection of appropriate test methods, and statistical significance of the generated data sets. Although Mechanical Evaluation Strategies for Plastics Materials is enjoyable to read with some interesting aspects covered in each of the chapters, it is not clear which audience will benefit besides the practicing plastics engineer with particular interest and/or responsibility for mechanical property testing of plastics.