Microfibrillar reinforced composites (MFC) have attracted considerable academic and practical interests after the concept was introduced more than a decade years ago. This new type of composites will be created by blending of two polymers with different melting temperatures and processing the blend under certain thermo-mechanical conditions to generate in-situ formed microfibrils of the higher melting polymer grade of temperature in the blend. The compression molded microfibrillar composites were reported to possess excellent mechanical properties and thus they are promising materials for different applications. In the present work, a typical immiscible polymer blend PET/PP was selected for the preparation of PET/PP, PET/PP/TiO2 microfibrillar reinforced composites. The objective of this study is to analyse the processing-structure-property relationship in the PET/PP based MFCs. The morphology of the PET microfibrils and the dispersion of the TiO2 nanoparticles were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and discussed. The crystallization behaviour of PET and PP was studied by means of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The thermomechanical and mechanical properties of the composites were determined by dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) and uniaxial tensile tests and the related results discussed as a function of the composition of the corresponding system. During stretching of the PET/PP extrudate, the PET dispersed phase was deformed into microfibrils. These microfibrils were still well persevered after compression molding of the drawn strands. Therefore the PET microfibrils acted as the reinforcement for the PP matrix. Compared with neat PP, the tensile properties of the PET/PP MFC were greatly improved. For the PET/PP/TiO2 MFC, the effects of polypropylene grafted maleic anhydride (PP-g-MA, introduced as compatibilizer) and TiO2 particles on the structure and properties of drawn strands and composites were investigated. Upon the addition of PP-g-MA, the preferential location of TiO2 particles changed: they migrated from the PET dispersed phase to the continuous PP matrix phase. This was accompanied with structural changes of the drawn strands. The microfibril formation mechanism was also investigated. After injection molding of the microfibrillar composites, the preferential location of TiO2 particles was still preserved. DMTA analysis of drawn strands, the tensile and impact tests of the composites demonstrated that the mechanical properties of the drawn strands of the microfibrillar composites were strongly dependent on the respective structures of the tested materials. To further investigate the preferential location of TiO2 particles in the PET/PP blend which were discovered during the preparation of PET/PP/TiO2 MFCs, PET/PP/TiO2 ternary nanocomposites were prepared according to four blending procedures. The preferential location of TiO2 nanoparticles was influenced by the blending sequence and the amount of PP-g-MA incorporated. Furthermore, it was discovered that TiO2 nanoparticles exerted a compatibilizing effect on the morphology of the composites. Three different compatibilization mechanisms of nanoparticles were proposed depending on the location of the nanoparticles.
Elastomers and their various composites, and blends are frequently used as engineering working parts subjected to rolling friction movements. This fact already substantiates the importance of a study addressing the rolling tribological properties of elastomers and their compounds. It is worth noting that until now the research and development works on the friction and wear of rubber materials were mostly focused on abrasion and to lesser extent on sliding type of loading. As the tribological knowledge acquired with various counterparts, excluding rubbers, can hardly be adopted for those with rubbers, there is a substantial need to study the latter. Therefore, the present work was aimed at investigating the rolling friction and wear properties of different kinds of elastomers against steel under unlubricated condition. In the research the rolling friction and wear properties of various rubber materials were studied in home-made rolling ball-on-plate test configurations under dry condition. The materials inspected were ethylene/propylene/diene rubber (EPDM) without and with carbon black (EPDM_CB), hydrogenated acrylonitrile/butadiene rubber (HNBR) without and with carbon black/silica/multiwall carbon nanotube (HNBR_CB/silica/MWCNT), rubber-rubber hybrid (HNBR and fluororubber (HNBR-FKM)) and rubber-thermoplastic blend (HNBR and cyclic butylene terephthalate oligomers (HNBR-CBT)). The dominant wear mechanisms were investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and analyzed as a function of composition and testing conditions. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dynamic-mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) along with other auxiliary measurements, were adopted to determine the phase structure and network-related properties of the rubber systems. The changes of the friction and wear as a function of type and amount of the additives were explored. The friction process of selected rubbers was also modelled by making use of the finite element method (FEM). The results show that incorporation of filler enhanced generally the wear resistance, hardness, stiffness (storage modulus), and apparent crosslinking of the related rubbers (EPDM-, HNBR- and HNBR-FKM based ones), but did not affect their glass transition temperature. Filling of rubbers usually reduced the coefficient of friction (COF). However, the tribological parameters strongly depended also on the test set-up and test duration. High wear loss was noticed for systems showing the occurrence of Schallamach-type wavy pattern. The blends HNBR-FKM and HNBR-CBT were two-phase structured. In HNBR-FKM, the FKM was dispersed in form of large microscaled domains in the HNBR matrix. This phase structure did not change by incorporation of MWCNT. It was established that the MWCNT was preferentially embedded in the HNBR matrix. Blending HNBR with FKM reduced the stiffness and degree of apparent crosslinking of the blend, which was traced to the dilution of the cure recipe with FKM. The coefficient of friction increased with increasing FKM opposed to the expectation. On the other hand, the specific wear rate (Ws) changed marginally with increasing content of FKM. In HNBR-CBT hybrids the HNBR was the matrix, irrespective to the rather high CBT content. Both the partly and mostly polymerized CBT ((p)CBT and pCBT, respectively) in the hybrids worked as active filler and thus increased the stiffness and hardness. The COF and Ws decreased with increasing CBT content. The FEM results in respect to COF achieved on systems possessing very different structures and thus properties (EPDM_30CB, HNBR-FKM 100-100 and HNBR-(p)CBT 100-100, respectively) were in accordance with the experimental results. This verifies that FEM can be properly used to consider the complex viscoelastic behaviour of rubber materials under dry rolling condition.
Product development with end-user integration is not an end in itself but a logical necessity due to divergent types of knowledge of the user and the developer of a product. While the user is an expert in regard to the product’s usage the developer is an expert in the product’s construction and functioning. For the development of high-end products both types of expertises were a prerequisite at all times. The efficient and throughout integration of the user’s perspective into existing product development approaches is the core of user-centred product development. Activities that are the basic ingredient of just any user-centred development approach can be roughly categorized into analysis, design and evaluation activities. Research and practice prove the early integration of real end-users within those activities to add significant and sustainable value to product innovation. The instrumental, methodological and procedural impact of globalization tendencies, on modern user-centred product development in particular, is the primary research focus of the field of cross-cultural user-centred product development. This research aims at the further advancement of the methodological foundations of cross-cultural user centred product development approaches based on a stabile and profound theoretical basis. Primary research objects are established user-analysis methodologies, which are mainly based on Western concepts and theories, and their applicability in disparate cultural contexts of the Far East (China and Korea in particular). For facilitating the adaptation of abstract method characteristics to the situational context of method application as foundation of cross-cultural methodological advancement, a model of method localization was developed. In alignment with internationalization and localization activities within product development processes, a framework for localizing user-centred methodologies was developed. Equivalent to internationalization activities of real product development, the abstraction of method traits from specific methodologies is a necessity in a first step. Methodological adaptation with the primary objective of optimizing situational application of a methodology is to be done in a second step – the step of method-localization. This model of method localization and its underlying theories and principles were tested within an extensive empirical study in Germany, China and Korea. Within this study the applicability of six distinct user-centred product development methodologies, each with its very own profile of abstract method traits, was tested with 248 participants in total. Results clearly back the basic hypothesis of method-localization, i.e. that the application of a user-centred methodology rises and falls with the alignment of its characteristic traits with the cross-cultural application context. Beyond, applicability-influencing factors identified within this study could be proven to be valid indicators of adaptation-necessities and –potentials of user-centred product development methodologies.
The manuscript divides in 7 chapters. Chapter 2 briefly introduces the reader to the elementary measures of classical continuum mechanics and thus allows to familiarize with the employed notation. Furthermore, deeper insight of the proposed first-order computational homogenization strategy is presented. Based on the need for a discrete representative volume element (rve), Chapter 3 focuses on a proper rve generation algorithm. Therein, the algorithm itself is described in detail. Additionally, we introduce the concept of periodicity. This chapter finalizes by granting multiple representative examples. A potential based soft particle contact method, used for the computations on the microscale level, is defined in Chapter 4. Included are a description of the used discrete element method (dem) as well as the applied macroscopically driven Dirichlet boundary conditions. The chapter closes with the proposition of a proper solution algorithm as well as illustrative representative examples. Homogenization of the discrete microscopic quantities is discussed in Chapter 5. Therein, the focus is on the upscaling of the aggregate energy as well as on the derivation of related macroscopic stress measures. Necessary quantities for coupling between a standard finite element method and the proposed discrete microscale are presented in Chapter 6. Therein, we tend to the derivation of the macroscopic tangent, necessary for the inclusion into the standard finite element programs. Chapter 7 focuses on the incorporation of inter-particle friction. We select to derive a variational based formulation of inter-particle friction forces, founded on a proposed reduced incremental potential. This contribution is closed by providing a discussion as well as an outlook.
Within this thesis we present a novel approach towards the modeling of strong discontinuities in a three dimensional finite element framework for large deformations. This novel finite element framework is modularly constructed containing three essential parts: (i) the bulk problem, ii) the cohesive interface problem and iii) the crack tracking problem. Within this modular design, chapter 2 (Continuous solid mechanics) treats the behavior of the bulk problem (i). It includes the overall description of the continuous kinematics, the required balance equations, the constitutive setting and the finite element formulation with its corresponding discretization and required solution strategy for the emerging highly non-linear equations. Subsequently, we discuss the modeling of strong discontinuities within finite element discretization schemes in chapter 3 (Discontinuous solid mechanics). Starting with an extension of the continuous kinematics to the discontinuous situation, we discuss the phantom-node discretization scheme based on the works of Hansbo & Hansbo. Thereby, in addition to a comparison with the extended finite element method (XFEM), importance is attached to the technical details for the adaptive introduction of the required discontinuous elements: The splitting of finite elements, the numerical integration, the visualization and the formulation of geometrical correct crack tip elements. In chapter 4 (The cohesive crack concept), we consider the treatment of cohesive process zones and the associated treatment of cohesive tractions. By applying this approach we are able to merge all irreversible, crack propagation accompanying, failure mechanisms into an arbitrary traction separation relation. Additionally, this concept ensures bounded crack tip stresses and allows the use of stress-based failure criteria for the determination of crack growth. In summary, the use of the discontinuous elements in conjunction with cohesive traction separation allows the mesh-independent computation of crack propagation along pre-defined crack paths. Therefore, this combination is defined as the interface problem (ii) and represents the next building block in the modular design of this thesis. The description and the computation of the evolving crack surface, based on the actual status of a considered specimen is the key issue of chapter 5 (Crack path tracking strategies). In contrast to the two-dimensional case, where tracking the path in a C0-continuous way is straightforward, three-dimensional crack path tracking requires additional strategies. We discuss the currently available approaches regarding this issue and further compare the approaches by means of usual quality measures. In the modular design of this thesis these algorithms represent the last main part which is classified as the crack tracking problem (iii). Finally chapter 6 (Representative numerical examples) verifies the finite element tool by comparisons of the computational results which experiments and benchmarks of engineering fracture problems in concrete. Afterwards the finite element tool is applied to model folding induced fracture of geological structures.
Proprietary polyurea based thermosets (3P resins) were produced from polymeric methylene diphenylisocyanate (PMDI) and water glass (WG) using a phosphate emulsifier. Polyisocyanates when combined with WG in presence of suitable emulsifier result in very versatile products. WG acts in the resulting polyurea through a special sol-gel route as a cheap precursor of the silicate (xerogel) filler produced in-situ. The particle size and its distribution of the silicate are coarse and very broad, respectively, which impart the mechanical properties of the 3P systems negatively. The research strategy was to achieve initially a fine water in oil type (W/O = WG/PMDI) emulsion by “hybridising” the polyisocyanate with suitable thermosetting resins (such as vinylester (VE), melamine/formaldehyde (MF) or epoxy resin (EP)). As the presently used phosphate emulsifiers may leak into the environment, the research work was directed to find such “reactive” emulsifiers which can be chemically built in into the final polyurea-based thermosets. The progressive elimination of the organic phosphate, following the European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (REACH), was studied and alternative emulsifiers for the PMDI/WG systems were found. The new hybrid systems in which the role of the phosphate emulsifier has been overtaken by suitable resins (VE, EP) or additives (MF) are designed 2P resins. Further, the cure behaviour (DSC, ATR-IR), chemorheology (plate/plate rheometer), morphology (SEM, AFM) and mechanical properties (flexure, fracture mechanics) have been studied accordingly. The property upgrade targeted not only the mechanical performances but also thermal and flame resistance. Therefore, emphasis was made to improve the thermal and fire resistance (e.g. TGA, UL-94 flammability test) of the in-situ filled hybrid resins. Improvements on the fracture mechanical properties as well as in the flexural properties of the novel 3P and 2P hybrids were obtained. This was accompanied in most of the cases by a pronounced reduction of the polysilicate particle size as well as by a finer dispersion. Further the complex reaction kinetics of the reference 3P was studied, and some of the main reactions taking place during the curing process were established. The pot life of the hybrid resins was, in most of the cases, prolonged, which facilitates the posterior processing of such resins. The thermal resistance of the hybrid resins was also enhanced for all the novel hybrids. However, the hybridization strategy (mostly with EP and VE) did not have satisfactory results when taking into account the fire resistance. Efforts will be made in the future to overcome this problem. Finally it was confirmed that the elimination of the organic phosphate emulsifier was feasible, obtaining the so called 2P hybrids. Those, in many cases, showed improved fracture mechanical, flexural and thermal resistance properties as well as a finer and more homogeneous morphology. The novel hybrid resins of unusual characteristics (e.g. curing under wet conditions and even in water) are promising matrix materials for composites in various application fields such as infrastructure (rehabilitation of sewers), building and construction (refilling), transportation (coating of vessels, pipes of improved chemical resistance)…