On the response of rubbers at high strain rates



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The purpose of this study is to examine the propagation of waves of finite deformation in rubbers through experiments and analysis. First, attention is focused on the propagation of one-dimensional dispersive waves in strips of latex and nitrile rubber. Tensile wave propagation experiments were conducted at high strain-rates by holding one end fixed and displacing the other end at a constant velocity. A high-speed video camera was used to monitor the motion and to determine the evolution of strain and particle velocity in rubber strips. Analysis of the response through the theory of finite wave propagation indicated a need for an appropriate constitutive model for rubber; by quantitative matching between the experimental observations and analytical predictions, an appropriate instantaneous elastic response for the rubbers was obtained. This matching process suggested that a simple power-law constitutive model was capable of representing the high strain-rate response for both rubbers used. Next, the propagation of one-dimensional shock waves in strips of latex and nitrile rubber is examined. Shock waves have been generated under tensile impact in pre-stretched rubber strips; analysis of the response yields the tensile shock adiabat for rubbers. The propagation of shocks is analyzed by developing an analogy with the theory of detonation. Attention is then focused on the propagation of unloading waves of finite deformation in a rubber specimen analytically and experimentally. A rubber strip stretched to many times its initial length is released at one end and the resulting unloading is examined. Dispersive waves as well as shock waves are observed in these experiments. Quantitative discrepancies between the analytical model and experimental observations are again used to motivate a power-law model. Hysteresis in the response is attributed to strain-induced crystallization and melting phase transitions in natural latex rubber, and to nonequilibrium microstructural deformation in nitrile rubber. Finally, a Kolsky experiment is conducted and analyzed under the framework of dispersive loading and unloading waves utilized in the previous experiments. In this experiment, a phase boundary is introduced separating low and high strain phases of the rubber and is demonstrated to persist as a stationary boundary in latex rubber.