Fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulation of nanosilica-filled crosslinked polybutadiene

AS Pavlov and PG Khalatur, CHEMICAL PHYSICS LETTERS, 653, 90-95 (2016).

DOI: 10.1016/j.cplett.2016.04.061

We report on the first fully atomistic simulation of sulfur-crosslinked cis-1,4-polybutadiene (PB) rubbers, both unfilled and nanosilica-filled. A well-integrated network is built by crosslinking the coarse-grained precursor PB chains. The initial configurations for subsequent molecular dynamics simulations are obtained by reverse mapping of well- equilibrated coarse-grained systems. Thermal and mechanical properties of the PB-based elastomers are predicted in reasonable agreement with experiment. The inclusion of silica nanoparticles into the model rubber increases the glass transition temperature and elastic modulus. Under tensile loading conditions, the formation of structural defects (microcavities) within the polymer bulk is observed for nanocomposite at the elastomer/nanoparticle interfaces. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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