United-Atom Molecular Dynamics Study of the Mechanical and Thermomechanical Properties of an Industrial Epoxy

R Maicas and I Yungerman and YB Weber and S Srebnik, POLYMERS, 13, 3443 (2021).

DOI: 10.3390/polym13193443

Epoxy resins are the most commonly used adhesives in industry due to their versatility, low cost, low toxicity, low shrinkage, high strength, resistance to moisture, and effective electrical resistance. These diverse properties can be tailored based on the chemical structure of the curing agent and the conditions of the curing process. Molecular simulations of epoxy resins have gained attention in recent years as a means to navigate the vast choice of chemical agents and conditions that will give the required properties of the resin. This work examines the statistical uncertainty in predicting thermodynamic and mechanical properties of an industrial epoxy resin using united atom molecular dynamics simulation. The results are compared with experimental measurements of the elastic modulus, Poisson's ratio, and the glass transition temperature obtained at different temperatures and degrees of curing. The decreasing trend of the elastic modulus with increasing temperature is accurately captured by the simulated model, though the uncertainty in the calculated average is large. The glass transition temperature is expectedly overpredicted due to the high rates accessible to molecular simulations. We find that Poisson's ratio is particularly sensitive to sample anisotropy as well as the method of evaluation, which explains the lack of consistent trends previously observed with molecular simulation at different degrees of crosslinking and temperatures.

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