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Molecular Response Of A Glassy Polymer To Active Deformation

F. Capaldi, M. Boyce, G. Rutledge
Published 2004 · Materials Science

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Abstract The behavior of a glassy polyethylene-like polymer undergoing active compressive deformation was investigated via molecular dynamics simulation. Several important features can be identified within the stress–strain response of the system. Namely, the system deforms elastically, yields, softens, and then at large strains exhibits strain hardening. Simulations reveal that the actively deforming polymer exhibits several distinct characteristics at the molecular scale. Active deformation is found to significantly increase the transition rate between different dihedral angle states as well as promote the propagation of dihedral angle flips along the chain. When deformation is stopped, the transition rates decrease and propagation of these transitions along the chain is once again hindered. Below the glass transition temperature, transitions are heterogeneously distributed within the system. However, a local density-transition rate correlation study shows that this transitional heterogeneity is not attributable to heterogeneity in the local density. Instead, the high local transition rates must be caused by stresses propagated along the chain backbone as indicated by changes in neighbor correlations with stress. The yield stress is determined as a function of strain rate between strain rates of 10 8  s −1 and 5×10 10  s −1 . The activation volume within the context of the Eyring model is calculated to be 0.21 nm 3 for this system.
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