Investigation of cavitation in model acrylate networks

Internship proposal 2021-2022

Soft Matter Science and Engineering Laboratory, (SIMM)

Address: ESPCI, 10 Rue Vauquelin 75005 Paris

Chair: Etienne Barthel

Supervisors: Flora-Maud Le Menn (flora-maud.le-menn (arobase) espci.fr) , Etienne Barthel (etienne.barthel (arobase) espci.fr) et Costantino Creton (constantino.creton (arobase) espci.fr)

Scientific description :

Every second, 29 Tb of data are produced on the internet, stocked and exchanged between continents. The vast majority of that data transits via optical fibres, consisting of thin glass fibres which carry light over hundreds of kilometres by total internal reflection. Being exposed to extreme conditions, these fibres are protected by several layers of polymers and metal. The first layer of protection consists of a soft elastomeric acrylate resin. This thin coating is under variable hydrostatic pressures created for example during manufacturing and during use. This may lead over time to the formation of cavities and ultimately to fibre blindness. The mechanisms ruling the nucleation and growth of cavities depend on various material parameters. Several models have been proposed, suggesting that the cavitation resistance is directly linked to the Young modulus1 or that it depends on the initial defect size2. Experimental studies3 however suggest a more complex cavitation behaviour where the network’s fracture toughness and the strain hardening both play a role.
The aim of this study will be to polymerize model networks of simple chemistry based on acrylates monomers (2-ethylhexyl acrylate and 2-phenoxy ethyl acrylate) with various crosslinking ratios. Different mechanical tests (uniaxial traction, fracture measurements, DMA, DSC, swelling) will be used to understand the network architecture and the mechanical properties of the networks. To test their behaviour under hydrostatic stress in order to provoke cavitation, the elastomers will be confined in a sphere on flat geometry (Figure a). This custom experimental set-up allows for the observation of the nucleation and growth of cavities (Figure b). The analysis of the cavitation process in light of the mechanical properties should help to shed light on the cavitation behaviour and on the origins of the nucleation.

Keywords : Cavitation, Acrylate networks, Mechanical characterizations

References:
[1] Gent, A.N.; Lindley, P.B.; Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 1958, volume 249 plate 19
[2] Gent, A.N.; Wang, C., Journal of Materials Science 1991, 26, 3392-3395
[3] Cristiano, A.; Marcellan, A.; Long, R.; Hui, C-Y.; Stolk, J.; Creton, C.; Journal of Polymer Science: Part B: Polymer Physics, 2010, Vol. 48, 1409-1422

Techniques/methods in use : Radical polymerization, Glass surface modification, Mechanical characterizations of networks (traction, DMA, DSC, swelling, cavitation)

Applicant skills : Experimental skills and interest, General knowledge of polymer mechanics and characterization, Reporting and communication skills

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Practical information

Sciences et Ingénierie de la Matière Molle

Soft Matter Enginering and Science Laboratory - UMR 7615

10 rue Vauquelin
75231 PARIS CEDEX 05
FRANCE

  • Chair : E. Barthel
  • Vice Chairs : J.B. d’Espinose & G. Ducouret
  • Administration : F. Decuq, M.-T. Mendy & M. Hirano-Courcot
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