Research Papers

Mechanical and Electrical Characterization of Two Carbon/Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Composites Created Via Equal Channel Angular Processing

[+] Author and Article Information
David J. Cook

Thayer School of Engineering at
Dartmouth College,
14 Engineering Drive,
Hanover, NH 03755
e-mail: Davidcook94@me.com

Hayden H. Chun

Thayer School of Engineering at
Dartmouth College,
14 Engineering Drive,
Hanover, NH 03755
e-mail: Haydenchun0@gmail.com

Douglas W. Van Citters

Thayer School of Engineering at
Dartmouth College,
14 Engineering Drive,
Hanover, NH 03755
e-mail: Douglas.W.Van.Citters@dartmouth.edu

1Present address: Pritzker School of Medicine at University of Chicago, 924 E. 57th St, Suite 104, Chicago, IL, 60637.

Contributed by the Materials Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received June 21, 2018; final manuscript received August 8, 2018; published online October 18, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Francis Aviles.

J. Eng. Mater. Technol 141(2), 021003 (Oct 18, 2018) (7 pages) Paper No: MATS-18-1188; doi: 10.1115/1.4041389 History: Received June 21, 2018; Revised August 08, 2018

Ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene (UHMWPE) has the greatest impact strength of any thermoplastic and has a variety of both industrial and biomedical applications. Equal channel angular processing (ECAP) is a fabrication method for UHMWPE that introduces shear into the polymer matrix by deforming the polymer through an angular channel, with the goal of enhancing mechanical properties. Both nanographite (NG) and carbon black (CB) attract interest as potential carbon additives for use in creating UHMWPE conductive polymer composites (CPC), but they have not yet been extensively tested in conjunction with ECAP. This study presents a systematic evaluation of the mechanical and electrical properties of 1.0 wt % CB/UHMWPE and NG/UHMWPE composites created using ECAP. These samples are compared against pure UHMWPE ECAP controls as well as compression molded (CM) composite samples. Results indicate that both NG and CB carbon additives successfully create CPCs with a corresponding decrease in mechanical properties. ECAP results in comparatively high mechanical and conductive properties when compared with compression molding. Electrical conductivity is shown to be inversely correlated with tensile strain in a repeatable manner, and microstructural theory is discussed. This work suggests a method to produce flexible, conductive UHMWPE composites that vary consistently and predictably with applied strain, which could have a variety of biomedical and industrial applications.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Cross-sectional schematic of ECAP die with angle (ϕ) indicated [9]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Density grid superimposed on a rendering of the material to demonstrate the effects on the material (a) prior to and (b) during the extrusion process [13]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

UTS as a function of both carbon composition and processing parameters. All paired t-tests are statistically significant (p < 0.05) with the exception of CB ECAP versus neat compression molded control (p = 0.437) and UHMWPE ECAP control versus UHMWPE compression molded control (p = 0.318). Statistical significance is denoted by asterisks.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

EAB as a function of both carbon composition and processing parameters. All paired t-tests are statistically significant (p < 0.05). Statistical significance is denoted by asterisks.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Toughness as a function of both carbon composition and processing parameters. All paired t-tests are statistically significant (p < 0.05) with the exception of NG ECAP versus NG compression molded (p = 0.354) and CB ECAP versus neat compression molded control (p = 0.434). Statistical significance is denoted by asterisks.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Zero strain resistivity as a function of carbon composition and processing parameters

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Comparison of fractional resistance as a function of tensile strain for 1% NG and 1% CB samples, processed via both ECAP and compression molding

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

SEM images of 200 μm thick samples of (a) neat UHMWPE ECAP control, (b) CB ECAP, (c) CB compression molded, (d) NG ECAP, and (e) NG compression molded, all at 500×



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