Dissemination of IT for the Promotion of Materials Science (DoITPoMS)

DoITPoMS Micrograph Library Full Record for Micrograph 586

Full Record for Micrograph 586

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Micrograph no
Brief description
Fracture surface in polystyrene
beach marks Link to MATTER Glossary entry for beach marks, fracture Link to MATTER Glossary entry for fracture, polymer Link to MATTER Glossary entry for polymer, polystyrene (PS)
Fracture, Polymer
Polystyrene (PS)
Not specified
Standard codes
Polystyrene is hard and inexpensive and its use is very widespread. CD cases and clear plastic cups are common examples. Domestic appliance casings are also typically made from PS
Sample preparation
The surface has been sputter-coated with gold, to give a conducting surface
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
Length bar
160 μm
Further information
The fracture surfaces are generally very sharp and angular, indicating fast, brittle fracture with little ductile tearing. Parabolic 'beach marks', can be seen where the fracture has grown at a speed comparable to the speed of sound in the material (and has thus been periodically arrested) and indicate the direction in which the fracture has occurred. In places, there is evidence of ductile tearing, and also a finely fibrous surface which is the remnant of crazes. There is also some evidence of the crack splitting as it progresses.
J A Curran
Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge
Licence for re-use
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales
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