• crack growth;
  • digital image correlation;
  • elastomer;
  • stress-induced crystallisation;
  • temperature effects

Abstract:  This article deals with the effect of temperature variations on crack tip kinematics in rubbers, especially in crystallising rubbers. In such materials, the high deformation level encountered at the crack tip engenders the formation of crystallites. As a consequence, the crack tip is reinforced and resists crack growth. However, this phenomenon is significantly affected by variations in material temperature. This is classically observed at the macroscopic scale in terms of crack propagation rate and path. In this study, the effect of temperature is studied at the local scale, by measuring the change in the kinematic field at the crack tip during thermal cycles. Results show that, in crystallisable natural rubber, the effect of temperature depends on the stretch ratio attained in the zone under consideration. In slightly stretched zones, the stretch ratio increases with the increase in temperature, whereas it decreases in highly stretched zones. This highlights the competition between the effects of the variations in internal energy and in entropy on the thermomechanical response. Moreover, if crystallites form in highly stretched zones, the increase in temperature leads to crystallite melting, which increases the stretch ratio. This is explained by the fact that crystallites act as fillers by concentrating the stress and therefore by increasing the apparent stiffness of the material.