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Mechanical properties of homogenous polymers and block copolymers : a molecular dynamics simulation approach

Abstract : We use molecular dynamics simulation of a coarse grained model to investigate the mechanical properties of homogenous polymers and lamellar block copolymers. Polymer samples have been generated using “radical like polymerisation” method. These samples were submitted to uniaxial and triaxial tensile tests in order to study their mechanical responses. First we compare two tensile test methods: the “homogenous deformation method” and the “boundary driven deformation method”. We find that the two methods lead to similar results at low strain rate. The change of the entanglement network in polymer sample undergoing a tensile deformation was investigated. We have found that the sample exhibits an increase of its entanglement length in uniaxial deformation test compared to triaxial deformation one. Our finding was interpreted by the pronounced chain disentanglement observed in the uniaxial deformation test due to the lateral relaxation of the sample. The cavity nucleation in amorphous polymers has been also studied. We have found that the cavities nucleate preferentially in zones that exhibit a low elastic bulk modulus. These zones can be identified from the initial undeformed state of the sample at low temperature (T~0K). The second part of the work focused in the simulation of the mechanical response of block copolymers. The influence of chain architecture on the mechanical properties was investigated: our finding reveals an important role of the bridging molecules (cilia chains and knotted loop chains) on the stress transmission between phases at high strain. The initiation of plasticity in copolymer samples was also studied. The role of the buckling has been found to be determinant in the mechanical response of the sample The dependence of the buckling instability with the sample size and the deformation rate was investigated. We have found that the fundamental (first) mode of buckling develops at relatively low strain rate whereas at high strain rate the buckling of the sample occurs with the second or higher mode of buckling. A new model that takes into account the buckling kinetic was developed to describe this competition between the buckling modes.
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Ali Makke. Mechanical properties of homogenous polymers and block copolymers : a molecular dynamics simulation approach. Other. Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I, 2011. English. ⟨NNT : 2011LYO10067⟩. ⟨tel-00839525⟩

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