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Shear-induced Disappearances Of Energy Minima And Plastic Deformation In Polymer Glasses

D. Malandro, D. Lacks
Published 1999 · Chemistry

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Abstract The potential energy landscape of a polymer glass is examined with regard to plastic deformation under shear strain. Shear strain is found to cause the disappearance of local potential energy minima, as determined by the decrease to zero of the curvature of the local minima. If the local energy minimum which the system is in disappears, the system becomes mechanically unstable and is forced to relax to an alternate energy minimum. This mechanical instability, which leads to a discontinuous change in system properties, is inherently irreversible—the new local minimum will not disappear, in general, when the strains are reversed. These disappearances of local energy minima and the associated irreversible relaxations lead to plastic deformation in polymer glasses.
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