Multi-scale Measurement of (Amorphous) Polymer Deformation: Simultaneous X-ray Scattering, Digital Image Correlation and In-situ Loading

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper presents a method to investigate the behaviour of polymers on different scales during deformation using simultaneously collected synchrotron X-ray scattering, digital image correlation (DIC) and tensile loading. The method is demonstrated through experiments made on specimens of amorphous polycarbonate. Deformation is measured in-situ, simultaneously across different scales from the macroscopic deformation, measured using sensors on the tensile machine, to the full-field mesoscopic deformation, measured using DIC, down to the deformation of the nano-scale structure, studied using small and wide angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS). The DIC reveals highly inhomogeneous deformations that render conventional techniques for measuring deformation, such as extensiometers, virtually useless. The X-ray scattering is measured in several spatial points during continuous loading giving the evolution of the microstructure with respect to both spatial location and load level. The spatial mapping of the scattering reveals characters that would not be observed when only measuring at the centre point or measuring on a large area of the specimen, e.g. wide beam SAXS/WAXS or small angle neutron scattering (SANS). With these data, the macroscopic and the mesoscopic deformation can be correlated to the behaviour of the microstructure providing relevant information when developing micro-mechanical based constitutive models. The experimental results shown here indicate a direct correlation between the major principal strain direction and the maximum anisotropy direction of the SAXS patterns. The current approach can be extended to any kind of polymeric materials or polymer-based nano-composites.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Digital image correlation, Small angle X-ray scattering, Wide angle X-ray scattering, In-situ loading, Polycarbonate
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1383
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch