Chemical stress cracking of acrylic fibres

J. Herms, L. H. Peebles, D. R. Uhlmann

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4 Scopus citations


The generation of periodic microscopic transverse cracks in oriented acrylic fibres immersed in hot alkaline hypochlorite solution is described in detail and shown to be a variety of chemical stress cracking. It is greatly accelerated by external tensile stress, high fibre permeability, moderate fibre orientation, and water-plasticization. The proposed mechanism for bond cleavage involves cyclization of nitrile groups (similar to the "prefatory reaction" in pyrolysis of acrylic fibres), followed immediately by N-chlorination and chain scission. Mechanical retractile forces (internal or external) then cause chain retraction and crack growth. Despite the remarkable regularity of the crack pattern, which typically resembles a series of stacked lamellae, the process is independent of any such underlying fibre morphology. The cracking process does, however, appear to be a sensitive indicator of residual latent strain in the fibre, which may persist even after high-temperature annealing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2517-2530
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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