Molecular dynamics study of the mechanical properties of polydisperse pressure-sensitive adhesives

DL Barreiro and K Jin and FJ Martin-Martinez and Z Qin and M Hamm and CW Paul and MJ Buehler, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADHESION AND ADHESIVES, 92, 58-64 (2019).

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijadhadh.2019.04.006

Amorphous polymers are one of the primary materials used in pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs). Their design can be aided by a better understanding of the mechanisms governing the molecular and mesoscopic scale behavior. This work presents a molecular dynamics study of the toughness and failure modes of a coarse-grained polydisperse PSA model in probe peel tests, achieved by varying the crosslinking density and locations. Generally, the toughness of polydisperse PSAs increases at a crosslinking density of 0.5%, compared to the non-crosslinked structure, and declines at higher crosslinking densities, which also changes the failure mode from cohesive to adhesive. The performance is affected by the length of the polymer chains that form crosslinks, although high crosslinking densities make the system less sensitive to effects related to its polydispersity. The results herewith presented display an optimal performance when 35-45% of the particles in the system belong to the giant component of the PSA network. This is achieved at crosslinking densities of 0.5-1.0%, depending on the length of the chains that are allowed to crosslink.

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