Tensile deformation of semi-crystalline polymers by molecular dynamics simulation

SW Deng, IRANIAN POLYMER JOURNAL, 26, 903-911 (2017).

DOI: 10.1007/s13726-017-0577-2

In this work, the microstructure evolution of semi-crystalline polymers during tensile deformation is analyzed by molecular dynamics simulation. A perfect semicrystalline lamellar structure with crystalline/amorphous interface perpendicular to tensile direction is created with the help of coarse-grained (CG) model of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA). During the tensile test, two kinds of strain rates are applied to the lamellar stack to determine the stress-strain curves, yield stresses, and crystallinities. Consistent with experimental findings, two yield points were observed in the semi-crystalline sample which was corresponded to the fine and coarse crystallographic slips in the lamellar structure, where the crystal stems gradually rotated into the direction of applied stress during chain slips. After the second yielding point when the crystal stems had been rotated fully into the direction of applied stress, the lamellar structure was destroyed and it resulted in a decrease of crystallinity. In addition, the increase of the strain rate led to the acceleration of destruction of crystal structures. It is worth noting that the stress induced crystallization was observed in the interfacial region, and newly crystallized beads were belonged to the same microcrystalline domain as crystalline region due to memory effects. This work provides direct comparison of structure evolution between crystalline and amorphous region in semi-crystalline polymers during tensile deformation, and it is helpful for the design and mechanical property analysis of semi-crystalline polymers.

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