Composites A, Applied Science and Manufacturing vol:65 pages:100-107
Self-reinforced polypropylene is a very tough material. It is even thought that its impact resistance increases with decreasing temperature. This was investigated by examining the constituent tapes and matrix. Tensile tests on both drawn polypropylene tapes and self-reinforced polypropylene were similar: the stiffness increased and the failure strain slightly decreased at low temperatures. The matrix, however, embrittled below room temperature due to the glass transition. In contrast with literature data on Izod impact resistance, the penetration impact resistance did not increase at low temperatures. At lower temperatures, the damaged area after non-penetration impact was significantly reduced. This was caused by a change in the damage mode from tape–matrix debonding to matrix cracking, as the matrix went through its glass transition. These conclusions provide the first understanding of the failure behaviour of self-reinforced polypropylene below room temperature, and can be exploited to further optimise the excellent impact resistance of self-reinforced polymers.