Molecular dynamics study of deformation mechanisms of poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogel

LX Shi and Q Han, MOLECULAR SIMULATION, 44, 1363-1370 (2018).

DOI: 10.1080/08927022.2018.1506120

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations have been performed on the physically crosslinking poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogel to study the deformation mechanisms under uniaxial tensile conditions. The distributions of hydroxyl oxygens and dihedral angle and the number of hydrogen bonds have been analysed to study the structure of the hydrogel. The water content and temperature dependency of mechanical properties have been investigated. The energy contributions from the partially united atom potential have been calculated as a function of strain. It is found that the stress-strain curve comprises toe region, linear region and yield and failure region which is close to most biomaterials. In the toe and yield region, all the contributions to the internal energy change a little. However, in the linear region, the bond stretching and angle bending energy increase rapidly and mainly dominate the region, and the energy increases more rapidly with the increasing water content but the decreasing temperature. The degree of crosslinking decreases with the increasing deformation. The polymer chains occur significant torsional activity in the toe region. Hydrogen bonds are stable in the toe and yield region, but the hydrogen bonds between hydroxyl groups and waters decrease in the linear region.

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