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Delocalizing Strain in a Thin Metal Film on a Polymer Substrate

Teng Li's picture

Teng Li, Zhenyu Huang, Zhichen Xi, Stephanie P. Lacour, Sigurd Wagner, Zhigang Suo, Mechanics of Materials, 37, 261-273 (2005).

Under tension, a freestanding thin metal film usually ruptures at a smaller strain than its bulk counterpart. Often this apparent brittleness does not result from cleavage, but from strain localization, such as necking. By volume conservation, necking causes local elongation. This elongation is much smaller than the film length, and adds little to the overall strain. The film ruptures when the overall strain just exceeds the necking initiation strain, εN , which for a weakly hardening film is not far beyond its elastic limit. Now consider a weakly hardening metal film on a steeply hardening polymer substrate. If the metal film is fully bonded to the polymer substrate, the substrate suppresses large local elongation in the film, so that the metal film may deform uniformly far beyond εN. If the metal film debonds from the substrate, however, the film becomes freestanding and ruptures at a smaller strain than the fully bonded film; the polymer substrate remains intact. We study strain delocalization in the metal film on the polymer substrate by analyzing incipient and large-amplitude nonuniform deformation, as well as debond-assisted necking. The theoretical considerations call for further experiments to clarify the rupture behavior of the metal-on-polymer laminates.

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