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Electromechanical instabilities of thermoplastics: Theory and in situ observation

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Electromechanical instabilities of thermoplastics: Theory and in situ observation

Qiming Wang, Xiaofan Niu, Qibing Pei, Michael Dickey, Xuanhe Zhao*

Appl. Phys. Lett. 101, 141911 (2012); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4757867

Abstract: Thermoplastics under voltages are used in diverse applications ranging from insulating cables to organic capacitors. Electromechanical instabilities have been proposed as a mechanism that causes electrical breakdown of thermoplastics. However, existing experiments cannot provide direct observations of the instability process, and existing theories for the instabilities generally assume thermoplastics are mechanically unconstrained. Here, we report in situ observations of electromechanical instabilities in various thermoplastics. A theory is formulated for electromechanical instabilities of thermoplastics under different mechanical constraints. We find that the instabilities generally occur in thermoplastics when temperature is above their glass transition temperatures and electric field reaches a critical value. The critical electric field for the instabilities scales with square root of yield stress of the thermoplastic and depends on its Young’s modulus and hardening property.

PDF is available at http://www.duke.edu/~xz69/papers/44.pdf
*E-mail: xz69@duke.edu

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