Durability of Semicrystalline Polymers under Extreme Environments: Characterization and Modeling
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The goal of this proposal is to investigate the effect of aging on the durability and service life of semicrystalline polymers. Aging refers here to the degradation of material properties due to UV radiation and/or hygrothermal cycles, both of which are relevant to some of Qatar's infrastructure. Of the many material properties that can be affected by aging, the project will focus on thermo-mechanical properties, including residual strength and fatigue life. An international team of experts from France, the United States and Qatar is assembled to address the many challenges involved. The specific objectives of the proposed work are to: 1. Characterize the degradation due to aging (i) under the natural conditions prevalent in Qatar over the duration of the project; and (ii) accelerated UV and thermal ageing experiments in a controlled laboratory environment. The characterization involves microstructural studies as well as physico-chemical and mechanical property evolution. 2. Investigate the effects of aging on the damage tolerance and residual strength of these materials, primarily under monotonic loading conditions, and develop models capable of predicting multiaxial response, including failure, under complex loading conditions. 3. Investigate the effects of aging on the creep and fatigue performance of these materials and develop a physics-based, continuum-damage mechanics model applicable to fatigue life prediction in as-received and aged materials.