Abstract

This study focused on the fracture and fatigue crack growth behavior in polyvinylchloride (PVC) and polyethersulfone (PES) foams. A new sandwich double cantilever beam (DCB) test specimen was implemented. Elastic foundation and finite element analysis and experimental testing confirmed that the DCB specimen is appropriate for static and cyclic crack propagation testing of soft polymer foams. A comprehensive experimental mechanical analysis was conducted on PVC foams of densities ranging from 45 to 100 kg/m3 and PES foams of densities ranging from 60 to 130 kg/m3. An in-situ scanning electron microscope study on miniature foam fracture specimens showed that crack propagation in the PVC foam was inter-cellular and in the PES foam, failure occurred predominately by extensional failure of vertical cell edges. Sandwich DCB specimens were loaded cyclically as well. For the PVC foams, the crack growth rates were substantially influence by the density. For the PES foams, there was no clear indication about the influence of foam density on the crack growth rate.