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New universality class for the fragmentation of plastic materials

: Timar, G.; Blömer, J.; Kun, F.; Herrmann, H.J.


Physical review letters 104 (2010), No.9, Art. 095502, 4 pp.
ISSN: 0031-9007
ISSN: 1079-7114
Journal Article
Fraunhofer UMSICHT Oberhausen ()
plastics processing; size reduction behaviour; material movement; mass distribution; discrete element method (DEM); Kunststoffverarbeitung; Zerkleinerungsverhalten; Materialbewegung; Massenverteilung; Diskrete-Elemente-Methode (DEM)

We present an experimental and theoretical study of the fragmentation of polymeric materials by impacting polypropylene particles of spherical shape against a hard wall. Experiments reveal a power law mass distribution of fragments with an exponent close to 1.2, which is significantly different from the known exponents of three-dimensional bulk materials. A 3D discrete element model is introduced which reproduces both the large permanent deformation of the polymer during impact and the novel value of the mass distribution exponent. We demonstrate that the dominance of shear in the crack formation and the plastic response of the material are the key features which give rise to the emergence of the novel universality class of fragmentation phenomena.