Abstract by Dallin Smith
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Effect of Varying Strain Rate on Polymer Samples
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is used in a wide variety of everyday materials, from artificial joints to shopping bags. Having a better understanding of its response to mechanical stress will lead to more efficient and durable materials. Vibrational sum-frequency generation (VSFG) was used to nondestructively determine how HDPE responds to mechanical deformation. Previous results show a correlation between VSFG response and strain length at constant strain rate. The effects of varying strain rate with constant strain length are being investigated currently. Discovering how strain rate affects the polymer structure will contribute to a better understanding of the behavior of HDPE or other polymers subjected to mechanical stress, such as predicting material failure.