Extra Large Polymer Sample Microtomy: Ask a Woodworker

Wednesday, October 18, 2023: 2:00 PM
320 (Huntington Convention Center)
Dr. Noah Budiansky, Ph.D., P.E. , Exponent, Inc., Natick, MA
Dr. Brian Jing, Ph.D. , Exponent, Inc., Natick, MA
Dr. Ryan Fox, Ph.D. , Exponent, Inc., Bowie, MD
Dr. Michael Kreder, Ph.D. , Exponent, Inc., Natick, MA
Dr. Jericho Moll, Ph.D. , Exponent, Inc., Natick, MA
Dr. Steven MacLean, Ph.D., P.E. , Exponent, Inc., Natick, MA
Many commercial polymers are compounded with a variety of fillers to enhance certain chemical, physical or electrical properties of the overall compound. Such properties often include strength, stiffness, static dissipation, ultraviolet light resistance, or color. Processing conditions can have a strong influence on the filler dispersion and distribution in the polymer matrix, which may impact the bulk material properties. Assessing the degree of filler spatial heterogeneity, which may result from suboptimal mixing and processing, can be quite elusive for large samples as the preparation methods employed to evaluate a material’s microstructure and corresponding material properties are often limited to either thin microtome samples of limited size or larger bulk samples. When larger-sized thin film samples are required to evaluate the spatial heterogeneity in a polymer composite sample, one may consider alternative sample preparation methods. Here, we explore the use of common woodworking tools and techniques to prepare polymer samples for microstructural evaluation and material property testing.
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