Strain softening of nano-scale fuzzy interfaces causes Mullins effect in thermoplastic polyurethane

T. Sui, E. Salvati, S. Ying, G. Sun, I. P. Dolbnya, K. Dragnevski, C. Prisacariu, A. M. Korsunsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The strain-induced softening of thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (TPUs), known as the Mullins effect, arises from their multi-phase structure. We used the combination of small-A nd wide-A ngle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS) during in situ repeated tensile loading to elucidate the relationship between molecular architecture, nano-strain, and macro-scale mechanical properties. Insights obtained from our analysis highlight the importance of the 'fuzzy interface' between the hard and soft regions that governs the structure evolution at nanometre length scales and leads to macroscopic stiffness reduction. We propose a hierarchical Eshelby inclusion model of phase interaction mediated by the 'fuzzy interface' that accommodates the nano-strain gradient between hard and soft regions and undergoes tension-induced softening, causing the Mullins effect that becomes apparent in TPUs even at moderate tensile strains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number916
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

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