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Static Mechanical Properties of High Density Polyethylene Based Composites

Hemanth G and Apurva Rakesh,

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The National Institute of Engineering, Mysuru-570 008, India

Abstract

The main objective of this article is to discuss the mechanical properties of HDPE reinforced short glass fiber and SiC filled composites. Composites materials made up of the high density poly ethylene (HDPE), short glass fibers (SGFs) and silicon carbide (SiC) particles are tested for the various mechanical properties such as hardness, inter-laminar shear strength, tensile properties, flexural properties and impact strength following prescribed ASTM standards. This investigation showed that the mechanical properties can be significantly improved by proper incorporation of SGFs and SiC particles into HDPE matrix. The fracture surfaces are analyzed using scanning electron microscope (SEM). The effects between SGFs and SiC, processing and mechanical properties are discussed.

Keywords: HDPE based composites, Processing, Mechanical properties, Fractography.

1.

INTRODUCTION

The polyethylene is the material having wide industrial application. There are three major classes of PEs namely, high-density PE (HDPE), low- density PE (LDPE), and linear low-density PE (LLDPE) [10]. In order to enhance the mechanical properties of the polymer, additional materials called reinforcements (fiber) are added. The percentage variations of High Density Poly Ethylene in the specimens ranges from 80% to 68% (the four specimen of that sort are tested). The percentage of short glass fibers are maintained constant in the composite and it is 20%. The

percentage variation of silicon carbide fillers varies from 8% to 12% in the composite material. Here the HDPE is used as the matrix material which is then being reinforced with the glass and silicon fillers. The specimen are prepared using extrusion followed by the injection molding technique. Four different types of specimens are prepared which are named as TR-1, TR-2, TR-3, TR-4 on the basis for variation of composition of Silicon carbide. Specimens for tensile, flexural, Inter Laminar Shear Strength, Impact test and hardness testing were prepared. Direct imaging of HDPE composites by SEM yields a more complete picture of both bulk and surface

phase compositions. Similarly EDAX gives composition of the composite material.

2. MATERIALS AND METHODS

2.1 Materials

The specimen were prepared with a high density polyethylene as matrix and short fibers are added as reinforcements along with Silicon carbide as the filler material. The percentage of short glass fibers are kept constant and limited to 20% but the percentage of matrix material is decreased in order to facilitating the addition of filler.

The composites are designates as given below

Specimen

Composition (by weight)

TR-1

80% HDPE + 20% SGF

TR-2

72% HDPE + 20% SGF + 8% SiC

TR-3

70% HDPE + 20% SGF + 10% SiC

TR-4

68% HDPE + 20% SGF + 12% SiC

2.2 Fabrication of composites

The process of fabrication is normally divided into three steps. In the first step the HDPE is heated to around 170°C-190°C [1] and melted then the short glass fibers are mixed with that and a dough is prepared. In the second step it is fed to a screw type extruder and then it is extruded and fed into a mold

(injection molding). In third step it is pressed horizontally to get a specimens. Fig-1.0[1] shows the steps that are followed.

a specimens. Fig-1.0[1] shows the steps that are followed. Fig-1.0: process of fabrication; 1.0(a): HDPE pellets

Fig-1.0: process of fabrication; 1.0(a): HDPE pellets and Carbon Nanotubes are taken in a container; 1.0(b): Heat is supplied to soften the HDPE Pellets; 1.0(c): The mixture is stirred to form a dough containing HDPE and CNT; 1.0(d): The dough is compressed to form a flat plate; 1.0(e): Flat composite plate; 1.0(f): Composite pellets are formed by cutting the plate; 1.0(g): The composite pellets are fed into a rotary extruder to obtain strips of the composite; 1.0(h): The strips are fed into dies and cast into required shapes.

Prepared specimens were characterized by tensile, flexural, inter laminar shear and notched impact tests. All tests were carried out at 25°C [3].

2.3 Tensile test

Tensile tests were conducted according to ASTMD 638-03 [7] using universal testing machine on a rectangular cross section dumb bell specimens. Cross head speed of 0.5mm/min [2]. A span of 70mm [5] is maintained for all specimen.

2.4 Flexural test

The three point bend test is done according to ASTM D 790 [8] is used. Test were conducted in 100KN UTM. The aspect ratio of 16:1 and span length of 60mm is maintained throughout.

2.5 Interlaminar shear strength

The Interlaminar shear strength test is done according to ASTM D 2344 [9] is used. Test were conducted in 100KN UTM. The aspect ratio of 9:1 and span length of 30mm×10.15mm×3.75mm [6] is maintained throughout.

2.6 Density measurement

The density is main parameter in a composite material this is first measured in closed box containing air later on it is measured in water to get actual density. In order to measure the density the specimen were cut into 10mm×10mm size.

2.7 Hardness measurement

The hardness is measured using Shore D hardness scale. To measure the hardness the Duro meter is pressed against the work piece. The needle is deflected and stops at a position which is considered. Similarly the readings are taken at different positions to check for consisitency.

2.8 Impact test

The Izod impact test is done with V-notched specimens to determine the impact strength. For making the impact a hammer of 2.5J, 5J and even 7.5J are fixed to the pendulum tip.

2.9 Fractography

To analyze the fracture surface SEM images were taken. SEM images of different magnification are taken to concluding better. For the constituents and their percentage composition, EDAX is done. This is done parallel along with the SEM.

3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The mechanical properties depend to a greater extent on the reinforcement/filler and to a lesser extent on the matrix material and the interaction between them, aspect ratio of fibers. The testing shows trend in variations of Young’s modulus flexural modulus, shear strength, impact strength and density.

1. Tensile strength

HDPE composites belongs to soft and tough polymer category. The tensile strength is more sensitive to the matrix properties, whereas the

modulus is dependent on the fiber properties. To improve the tensile strength, a strong interface, low stress concentration, fiber orientation is required whereas fiber concentration, fiber wetting in the matrix phase, and high fiber aspect ratio determine tensile modulus. The tensile testing is uniaxial loading and is carried on all the specimens. Two samples of each type are tested. The load versus deflection curve is plotted and slope of which is used for obtaining the Young’s Modulus. As the fillers increases from 0% to 12% the failure of the samples deviate from elasticity and modulus of elasticity increases accordingly. This can be noticed in Table 1.0. As the percentage of silicon carbide increases then the strength decreases .The peak load that a specimen carry decreases for a specimen with 10% Sic and 70% HDPE and increases for next specimen. As the cross head speed is very less the specimen fail elastically and that can be seen in fractography section of the same article.

can be seen in fractography section of the same article. Fig-2(a): The load v/s displacement curve

Fig-2(a): The load v/s displacement curve for TR-1 specimen

Fig-2(a): The load v/s displacement curve for TR-1 specimen Fig-2(b): The load v/s displacement curve for

Fig-2(b): The load v/s displacement curve for TR-4 specimen.

Specimen

Peak

Tensile Strength (N/mm 2 )

Young’s Modulus (N/mm 2 )

Composition

Load (N)

TR-1

1047.51

26.94

449.90

TR-2

997.98

25.00

385.39

TR-3

989.34

26.016

411.52

TR-4

1026.00

26.548

421.01

Table 1.0 Tensile Test Results

2. Flexural Strength

The three point bending test is done to determine the flexural modulus of the specimens. The failure of the specimen is not observed as seen in the tensile and impact test. Load versus deflection curve is plotted and the slope of the curve is used to calculate the flexural modulus of the specimens. As the percentage of silicon carbide increases from 0 to 10%, the strength decreases along with peak load but increases again at 12% as seen from table 2.0.

Specimen

Cross Section Area (mm 2 )

Peak

Flexural Strength

Flexural

Load

Modulus

(N)

(N/mm 2 )

TR-1

37.02

55.57

35.63

747.68

TR-2

38.21

47.63

29.91

1327.75

TR-3

39.12

45.19

27.22

878.14

TR-4

38.39

49.21

30.44

1426.48

Table-2.0 Three Point Bending Test Results

30.44 1426.48 Table-2.0 Three Point Bending Test Results Fig-3(a) the load v/s deflection curve for TR-1

Fig-3(a) the load v/s deflection curve for TR-1 specimen

Fig-3(a) the load v/s deflection curve for TR-1 specimen Fig-3.0(b) the load v/s deflection curve for

Fig-3.0(b) the load v/s deflection curve for TR-4 specimen.

3. Inter-Laminar Shear Strength

The Inter-Laminar Shear Stress test is conducted to determine the maximum shear stress the composite can withstand before individual layers are sheared away. The test is conducted similar to the three point bending test using the same equipment and fixtures. The load versus deflection curve was obtained and the shear strength were tabulated. Shear strength tends to increase with the increase in concentration of SiC. However, for a range of values between 8% and 12% of SiC, the strength decreases as seen in table 3.0. The only difference lies in the aspect ratio of specimen which is 8.5:1 as opposed to 16:1 for three point bending.

which is 8.5:1 as opposed to 16:1 for three point bending. Fig-4(a): The load v/s displacement

Fig-4(a): The load v/s displacement curve for TR-1 specimen

Fig-4(a): The load v/s displacement curve for TR-1 specimen Fig-4(b): The load v/s displacement curve for

Fig-4(b): The load v/s displacement curve for TR-2 specimen

Specimen

Peak Load

Shear Strength

Composition

(N)

(N/mm 2 )

TR-1

122.60

2.45

TR-2

111.88

2.55

TR-3

90.07

1.76

TR-4

115.20

2.32

Table-3.0 Inter-Laminar Shear Stress Test Results.

4. Density Measurement

The density is tested in a machine by first measuring

in air and later in distilled water and unit then

expressed will be in the format of g/cm 3 , later it is

being expressed in Kg/m 3 . From observation we can

say that the density of the composite material is very

close to that of water which is so said that

1000Kg/m 3 or 1g/cm 3 . The pure HDPE has a density

of 953Kg/m 3 or 0.953 g/cm 3 [3]. This is beneficial in

the light weight applications.

SPECIMENS

g/cm 3

Kg/m 3

TR-1

1.0811

1081.1

TR-2

1.0942

1094.2

TR-3

1.1121

1112.1

TR-4

1.1156

1115.6

Table-4.0: Density test result.

5. Hardness Measurement

The shore D hardness is used to measure the

hardness. The Duro meter is a device used to

measure the hardness, but there is Barcol hardness

scale which is also used with this.

The main reason for not going with Barcol hardness

is that the needle in the durometer is not getting

deflected as soon as we press it against the work

piece.

Specimens

Shore D Hardness Number

TR-1

45.7

TR-2

50

TR-3

55

TR-4

57

Table-5.0 Shore D hardness number.

6. Impact strength

Impact test is to measure the ability of a material to

absorb the sudden application of a load with

breaking. The Izod impact test is done by making

the V-notch on the specimen using notch cutter

machine. The pendulum hammer strikes the

specimen and the Table-4.0 shows the variation of

impact strength with the percentage variation of

filler material. It is found that the composite with no

SiC and with 10% SiC showed higher strength when

compared with other specimens.

   

Impact

Impact strength (Indian

Standards) (KJ/m 2 )

Specimen

Energy

absorbed

(J)

strength

(ASTM

) (J/m)

TR-1

0.5700

154.00

16.16

TR-2

0.5000

134.70

13.31

TR-3

0.6000

159.50

16.76

TR-4

0.4500

120.00

11.83

Table-6.0 Impact Test Results

7.

Fractography

Fig-5.0(b): Image of Tensile Specimen.

Fractography is the study of the fracture surfaces of materials. Fractographic methods are routinely used to determine the cause of failure in engineering structures. For the analysis of the fracture surfaces images of scanning electron microscope is obtained These images are 500x magnification (that is 50µm scale) taken from JSM-IT300 instrument.and compared with best two specimen and the samples were thoroughly cleaned, air-dried and coated with 100 Å thick gold particles.

air-dried and coated with 100 Å thick gold particles. Fig-5.0(a): Image of Tensile specimen Here one

Fig-5.0(a): Image of Tensile specimen

thick gold particles. Fig-5.0(a): Image of Tensile specimen Here one can notice the failure is very

Here one can notice the failure is very elastic nature this is due to low cross head speed and also due to matrix material property. It can be seen that most of the fibers are oriented along the loading and few are not which do not support for load bearing capacity of the material.

In Fig-5.0(b) there are few SiC filler particles that can be seen which contributes in enhancing the strength of the specimen.

which contributes in enhancing the strength of the specimen. Fig-5.0(c): Image of impact specimen. Fig-5.0(d): Image

Fig-5.0(c): Image of impact specimen.

in enhancing the strength of the specimen. Fig-5.0(c): Image of impact specimen. Fig-5.0(d): Image of Impact

Fig-5.0(d): Image of Impact specimen.

In the above images it is clearly visible that due to transverse impact loading on a notched specimen few fibers are dragged on to other part and few fiber pullouts can be seen in Fig-4.0(d) this can be interpreted as there is no good bondage between the fibers and matrix material which reduces the strength of the composite.

On one more keen observation we find that the fibers are not sheared instead they failed making some angle in axial direction.

EDAX analysis

The tables below shows the composition of the constituents present in a composites. From tables we can see that amount of silicon increases from TR-1 to TR-4 correspondingly the values of Carbon also decreases ad the percentage of carbon in silicon carbide is lesser than that compared with the matrix material.

Elements

Weight

Atomic

K-Ratio

%

%

C

90.06

96.38

0.6340

Al

0.48

0.23

0.0035

Si

2.65

1.21

0.0216

Ca

6.81

2.18

0.0596

Table-7.0(a) composition of TR-1 specimen

Elements

Weight

Atomic

K-Ratio

%

%

C

62.44

73.27

0.2602

O

20.87

18.39

0.0279

F

3.01

2.24

0.0045

Al

2.01

1.05

0.0134

Si

6.35

3.19

0.0481

Ca

5.32

1.87

0.0465

Table-7.0(b) Composition of TR-4 specimen from EDAX.

4.

CONCLUSIONS

After all the tests, we can conclude that, the static tensile strength initially decreases for 8% of SiC but then increases. Flexural and inter laminar shear strength show a different behavior. The strengths of the composites got enhanced on addition of Silicon carbide material with percentage (8% and 12%) but showed a deviated behavior for 10% of the Silicon Carbide. Hence, we conclude that SiC improves the hardness and impact characteristics, whereas glass fibers improve the mechanical properties.

Hardness values increases with the increment of filler material and values of the densities are increased with filler.

The fibers and fillers shows a medium range bonding with the matrix materials. In fractographic images it is observed though most of the fibers contributed for load carrying capacity few of them oriented in a random direction which reduces

strength of the material by not contributing for load carrying. Apart from fiber orientation it also speaks about type of matrix material and confirms that the material is elastic. The EDAX also gave the results which is as expected.

5. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

We would like to thank Dr. Suresha B, Dean of Research and Development, NIE, Mysore, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering for guiding us through this project.

We would like to thank Prof. Siddaramaiah, Department of Polymer Science, SJCE, Mysore, for coordinating with us and providing us with the assistance in acquiring the fractographic images we needed to complete our project.

We also thank Team CogNIEscience for providing us with this opportunity to participate

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