Forced reptation revealed by chain pull-out simulations

Monica Bulacu*, Erik van der Giessen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
264 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We report computation results obtained from extensive molecular dynamics simulations of tensile disentanglement of connector chains placed at the interface between two polymer bulks. Each polymer chain (either belonging to the bulks or being a connector) is treated as a sequence of beads interconnected by springs, using a coarse-grained representation based on the Kremer-Grest model, extended to account for stiffness along the chain backbone. Forced reptation of the connectors was observed during their disentanglement from the bulk chains. The extracted chains are clearly seen following an imaginary "tube" inside the bulks as they are pulled out. The entropic and energetic responses to the external deformation are investigated by monitoring the connector conformation tensor and the modifications of the internal parameters (bonds, bending, and torsion angles along the connectors). The work needed to separate the two bulks is computed from the tensile force induced during debonding in the connector chains. The value of the work reached at total separation is considered as the debonding energy G. The most important parameters controlling G are the length (n) of the chains placed at the interface and their areal density. Our in silico experiments are performed at relatively low areal density and are disregarded if chain scission occurs during disentanglement. As predicted by the reptation theory, for this pure pull-out regime, the power exponent from the scaling G proportional to n(a) is a approximate to 2, irrespective of chain stiffness. Small variations are found when the connectors form different number of stitches at the interface, or when their length is randomly distributed in between the two bulks. Our results show that the effects of the number of stitches and of the randomness of the block lengths have to be considered together, especially when comparing with experiments where they cannot be controlled rigorously. These results may be significant for industrial applications, such reinforcement of polymer-polymer adhesion by connector chains, when incorporated as constitutive laws at higher time/length scales in finite element calculations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number064904
Pages (from-to)064904-1-064904-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Volume131
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14-Aug-2009

Keywords

  • bending
  • bonds (chemical)
  • elastic constants
  • molecular dynamics method
  • polymer structure
  • tensile strength
  • PS-PMMA COPOLYMER
  • POLYMER INTERFACES
  • IMMISCIBLE POLYMERS
  • MOLECULAR-WEIGHT
  • ENTANGLED POLYMERS
  • DIBLOCK COPOLYMER
  • GLASSY-POLYMERS
  • ADHESION
  • DYNAMICS
  • FRACTURE

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