The Interesting Influence of Nanosprings on the Viscoelasticity of Elastomeric Polymer Materials: Simulation and Experiment

J Liu and YL Lu and M Tian and F Li and JX Shen and YY Gao and LQ Zhang, ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS, 23, 1156-1163 (2013).

DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201201438

Among all carbon nanostructured materials, helical nanosprings or nanocoils have attracted particular interest as a result of their special mechanical behavior. Here, carbon nanosprings are used to adjust the viscoelasticity and reduce the resulting hysteresis loss (HL) of elastomeric polymer materials. Two types of nanospring-filled elastomer composites are constructed as follows: system I is obtained by directly blending polymer chains with nanosprings; system II is composed of the self-assembly of a tri-block structure such as chain-nanospring-chain. Coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations show that the incorporation of nanosprings can improve the mechanical strength of the elastomer matrix through nanoreinforcement and considerably decrease the hysteresis loss. This finding is significant for reducing fuel consumption and improving fuel efficiency in the automobile tire industry. Furthermore, it is revealed that the spring constant of nanosprings and the interfacial chemical coupling between chains and nanosprings both play crucial roles in adjusting the viscoelasticity of elastomers. It is inferred that elastomer/carbon nanostructured materials with good flexibility and reversible mechanical response (carbon nanosprings, nanocoils, nanorings, and thin graphene sheets) have both excellent mechanical and low HL properties; this may open a new avenue for fabrication of high performance automobile tires and facilitate the large-scale industrial application of these materials.

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