The results of the experimental and molecular-dynamics study of the process of mechanical degradation of polymer chain, testifying to the essential role of nonthermal channels of dissipation of elastic energy accumulated during deformation, have been discussed. High-energy molecular products of mechanical degradation, which are able to induce a chain branching process leading to “explosive” formation of submicrocrackes, have been discovered. It has been noted that a considerable part of polymer chain energy is concentrated in localized excitations of a soliton type, which play the determining role at all the stages of mechanical degradation under consideration.
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