Constitutive Behavior of a Twaron® Fabric/Natural Rubber Composite: Experiments and Modeling
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Ballistic fabrics made from high performance polymeric fibers such as Kevlar®, Twaron® and Spectra® fibers and composites utilizing these fabrics are among the leading materials for modern body armor systems. Polymeric fibers used to produce ballistic fabrics often behave viscoelastically and exhibit time- and rate-dependent stress-strain relations. This necessitates the study of the constitutive behavior of composites filled by ballistic fabrics. Rheological models based on discrete rheological components (including spring and dashpot) have been widely used to study the viscoelastic behavior of polymeric fabrics. Such rheological (or viscoelasticity) models are qualitatively useful in understanding the effects of various micro-mechanisms and molecular features on the macroscopic responses of ballistic fabrics. In the present work, the constitutive behavior of Twaron CT709® fabric/natural rubber (Twaron®/NR) composite is studied using three viscoelasticity models (i.e., a four-parameter Burgers model, a three-parameter generalized Maxwell (GMn=1) model, a five-parameter generalized Maxwell (GMn=2) model) and a newly developed para-rheological model. The new model utilizes a three-parameter element to represent the Twaron® fabric and the affine network based molecular theory of rubber elasticity to account for the deformation mechanisms of the NR constituent. The uniaxial stress-strain relation of the Twaron®/NR composite at two constant strain rates is experimentally determined. The values of the parameters involved in all the models are extracted from the experimental data obtained in this study. The stress-relaxation response (under a uniaxial constant strain) and the creep deformation (under a uniaxial constant stress) of the composite are also experimentally measured. The three viscoelasticity models considered here are capable of predicting the viscoelastic constitutive behavior of the composite with different levels of accuracy. The stress-strain relation at each strain rate predicted by the newly developed para-rheological model is seen to be in good agreement with the measured stress-strain curve over the entire strain range studied. It is shown that the new model also predicts the elastic moduli and ultimate stress of the Twaron®/NR composite well. All the four models are found to predict the initial relaxation response of the composite fairly well, while the long-term stress relaxation is more accurately represented by the para-rheological model. An implicit solution provided by the para-rheological model is shown to predict the creep response of the composite more accurately than all the other models at both the primary and secondary stages. The mathematical complexity that arises from including an additional Maxwell element to the GMn=1 model to obtain the GMn=2 model with enhanced predictability is traded with the use of simple characteristic time functions in the para-rheological model. These functions are found to greatly improve the predictability of the newly developed model for the stress relaxation modulus and creep compliance. This study also explores the utility of the para-rheological model as a tool to probe the micromechanisms and molecular features that are causally related to the macroscopically observed viscoelastic behavior of the composite. The relaxation and creep trends predicted by the para-rheological model indicate that the long time viscoelastic response of the composite lies between that of a crosslinked polymer and a semi-crystalline thermoplastic.
Natarajan, Valliyappan D. (2009). Constitutive Behavior of a Twaron® Fabric/Natural Rubber Composite: Experiments and Modeling. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from