Project title: A new model of mechanical properties of aligned polymers
"It was realised very early on that polyethylene molecules could form light but incredibly tough fibres, if aligned and fully extended. A material known as UHMWPE (Ultra-High Molecular Polyethylene) has realised this potential with incredibly high tensile strengths and Young's Moduli. The industrial applications of UHMWPE are vast ranging from use in fishing lines, satellite shields, and bullet proof vests.
We aim to develop a mechanical model that describes the tensile properties of UHMWPE (Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) by looking at the elastic forces within chains and Van der Waals forces between chains. The starting point is to examine the behaviour of perfect chains with no breaks. By then introducing breaks, we hope to investigate how intermolecular forces transmit load between UHMWPE chains, and investigate the growth of cracks.
The project is in collaboration with the experimental group of Prof. L. Iannucci at the Dept. of Aeronautical Engineering, Imperial College London."