Understanding the Role of Self-Adhesion in Crumpling Behaviors of Sheet Macromolecules

YC Liao and ZF Li and S Ghazanfari and Fatima and AB Croll and WJ Xia, LANGMUIR, 37, 8627-8637 (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.1c01545

Understanding the crumpling behavior of two-dimensional (2D) macromolecular sheet materials is of fundamental importance in engineering and technological applications. Among the various properties of these sheets, interfacial adhesion critically contributes to the formation of crumpled structures. Here, we present a coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CG-MD) simulation study to explore the fundamental role of self-adhesion in the crumpling behaviors of macromolecular sheets having varying masses or sizes. By evaluating the potential energy evolution, our results show that the self-adhesion plays a dominant role in the crumpling behavior of the sheets compared to in- plane and out-of-plane stiffnesses. The macromolecular sheets with higher adhesion tend to form a self-folding planar structure at the quasi-equilibrium state of the crumpling and exhibit a lower packing efficiency as evaluated by the fractal dimension of the system. Notably, during the crumpling process, both the radius of gyration R-g and the hydrodynamic radius R-h of the macromolecular sheet can be quantitatively described by the power-law scaling relationships associated with adhesion. The evaluation of the shape descriptors indicates that the overall crumpling behavior of macromolecular sheets can be characterized by three regimes, i.e., the less bent, intermediate, and highly crumpled regimes, dominated by edge-bending, self-adhesion, and further compression, respectively. The internal structural analysis further reveals that the sheet transforms from the initially ordered state to the disordered glassy state upon crumpling, which can be facilitated by greater self-adhesion. Our study provides fundamental insights into the adhesion-dependent structural behavior of macromolecular sheets under crumpling, which is essential for establishing the structure-processing-property relationships for crumpled macromolecular sheets.

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