Cylindrical specimens were prepared from two diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA) amine-terminated poly(propylene oxide) (PPO) networks of different crosslink density and subjected to quenching and isothermal ageing treatments at different temperatures and ageing times of between 0.1 and 1000 h. The changes in the structure of the glasses during the ageing towards equilibrium was subsequently assessed by measurement of the yield stress in uniaxial compression at the same temperature as the ageing. It was found that for both resins, the yield stress increases by as much as 1.8 times over the range of ageing times investigated. It was found for each system that the evolution of the yield stress virtually ceases after a critical ageing time t* which increases as temperature decreases. Also, it was observed that the lower yield stress corresponding to the onset of generalized plastic flow exhibits only a very small increase with the ageing time. From the influence of temperature and strain rate on the above phenomena, the kinetics of physical ageing were examined quantitatively in terms of the time-ageing time-temperature equivalence principle. The results suggest that the increase in yield stress on ageing is correlated to volume recovery and to the induced increase of the relaxation times as the polymeric glass evolves towards its equilibrium state.
- physical ageing
- plastic yielding