Strain hardening in bidisperse polymer glasses: Separating the roles of chain orientation and interchain entanglement

RS Hoy and MO Robbins, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 131, 244901 (2009).

DOI: 10.1063/1.3276800

The effects of entanglement and chain orientation on strain hardening in glassy polymers are separated by examining mixtures of chains with different lengths. Simulations show that the orientation of a molecule of a given chain length is the same in monodisperse systems and bidisperse mixtures, even when entangled and unentangled chains are mixed. In addition, the stress in mixtures is equal to the weighted average of the stresses in monodisperse systems. These results indicate that chains contribute independently to strain hardening, that chain orientation is determined by local interactions with the surrounding glass, and that entanglements play at most an indirect role in strain hardening in the range of strains typically studied. We discuss these results in the context of recent theories.

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