High Rate Testing and Modeling of Polymers

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Date8:30 AM - 4:30 PM (EDT)
Thu, Nov 2, 2017Veryst Engineering Office
Fri, Nov 3, 2017Veryst Engineering Office

Class Location: Veryst Engineering, 47A Kearney Road, Needham, MA 02494, USA

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Predicting both the high and low strain rate response of different polymers can be difficult due to material non-linearities and sensitivity to the load environment.
This class will demonstrate different experimental techniques for determining the true material response, and exercise suitable material models for capturing the material response in both slow rate and impact conditions.


The training class is intended for people with some experience running finite element programs. The examples presented in class will use the commercial finite element program Abaqus. The material models presented in class are available for Abaqus, ANSYS, LS-DYNA, COMSOL, and MSC.Marc, and the course is applicable to all finite element codes.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this class you will be able to:

  • Design a relevant high strain rate experimental test program for a new polymer material. Know what experimental tests are necessary and sufficient for material model calibration.
  • Know the strengths and weaknesses of various material models with respect to predicting both the slow and high strain rate response.
  • Use experimental data to calibrate the selected material model, and perform impact simulations using an FE code.

Course Outline

  • Review of polymer mechanics
  • Modern mechanical testing techniques for polymers
  • Finite element analysis as an engineering tool
  • Differences between polymers and metals
  • Continuum mechanics review: stress, strain, deformation gradients, invariants, balance laws
  • Elasticity / hyperelasticity: review of hyperelastic models
  • Review of viscoelasticity theory: strengths and limitations of linear viscoelasticity
  • Review of metal plasticity theory: strengths and limitations of metal plasticity models
  • User-material models in Abaqus and ANSYS, including advanced viscoplastic constitutive models incorporating rate- and temperature-dependence
  • State variable models>
  • Advanced finite element simulations of different classes of polymers
  • Material parameter extraction techniques using MCalibration and the PolyUMod library of user material models

About the Instroctor

Dr. Bergstrom is a Principal Engineer at Veryst Engineering, LLC, and consults primarily in the modeling, testing, and failure analysis of mechanical behavior of polymer materials.  He is the author of Mechanics of Solid Polymers: Theory and Computational Modeling, a comprehensive book that explains how solid polymers behave, how they can be experimentally characterized, and how to predict their behavior in different load environments.

Dr. Bergstrom received his Ph.D. from M.I.T. in the area of computational polymer mechanics, and has lectured in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at M.I.T. Dr. Bergstrom is the creator of the website: PolymerFEM.com.

Course Materials

Everyone who registers for the class will receive a free one-month license to the MCalibration software, and a one-month license to the PolyUMod Library of user-material models. A license to a FE program, like Abaqus or ANSYS, is not provided. Extensive training class notes will be provided in pdf-format. Notes are for personal use and may be printed, but cannot be modified, shared, or redistributed.

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