An experimental and numerical study of the scratch test on polymers near their surface is presented. The elastoplastic response of three polymers is compared during scratch tests at large deformations: polycarbonate, a thermosetting polymer and a sol-gel hard coating composed of a hybrid matrix (thermosetting polymer-mineral) reinforced with oxide nanoparticles. The experiments were performed using a nanoindenter with a conical diamond tip having an included angle of 30 deg and a spherical radius of 600 nm. The observations obtained revealed that thermosetting polymers have a larger elastic recovery and a higher hardness than polycarbonate. The origin of this difference in scratch resistance was investigated with numerical modelling of the scratch test in three dimensions. Starting from results obtained by Bucaille (J. Mat. Sci., 37, pp. 3999–4011, 2002) using an inverse analysis of the indentation test, the mechanical behavior of polymers is modeled with Young’s modulus for the elastic part and with the G’sell-Jonas’ law with an exponential strain hardening for the viscoplastic part. The strain hardening coefficient is the main characteristic parameter differentiating the three studied polymers. Its value is equal to 0.5, 4.5, and 35, for polycarbonate, the thermosetting polymer and the reinforced thermosetting polymer, respectively. Firstly, simulations reveals that plastic strains are higher in scratch tests than in indentation tests, and that the magnitude of the plastic strains decreases as the strain hardening increases. For scratching on polycarbonate and for a penetration depth of 0.5 μm of the indenter mentioned above, the representative strain is equal to 124%. Secondly, in agreement with experimental results, numerical modeling shows that an increase in the strain hardening coefficient reduces the penetration depth of the indenter into the material and decreases the depth of the residual groove, which means an improvement in the scratch resistance.
Experimental and Three-Dimensional Finite Element Study of Scratch Test of Polymers at Large Deformations
Contributed by the Tribology Division for publication in the ASME JOURNAL OF TRIBOLOGY. Manuscript received by the Tribology Division August 29, 2002; revised manuscript received June 24, 2003. Associate Editor: Q. J. Wang.
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Bucaille , J. L., Felder, E., and Hochstetter, G. (April 19, 2004). "Experimental and Three-Dimensional Finite Element Study of Scratch Test of Polymers at Large Deformations ." ASME. J. Tribol. April 2004; 126(2): 372–379. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1645535
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