Systematic coarse-graining of epoxy resins with machine learning- informed energy renormalization

A Giuntoli and NK Hansoge and A van Beek and ZX Meng and W Chen and S Keten, NPJ COMPUTATIONAL MATERIALS, 7, 168 (2021).

DOI: 10.1038/s41524-021-00634-1

A persistent challenge in molecular modeling of thermoset polymers is capturing the effects of chemical composition and degree of crosslinking (DC) on dynamical and mechanical properties with high computational efficiency. We established a coarse-graining (CG) approach combining the energy renormalization method with Gaussian process surrogate models of molecular dynamics simulations. This allows a machine-learning informed functional calibration of DC-dependent CG force field parameters. Taking versatile epoxy resins consisting of Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether combined with curing agent of either 4,4-Diaminodicyclohexylmethane or polyoxypropylene diamines, we demonstrated excellent agreement between all-atom and CG predictions for density, Debye-Waller factor, Young's modulus, and yield stress at any DC. We further introduced a surrogate model-enabled simplification of the functional forms of 14 non-bonded calibration parameters by quantifying the uncertainty of a candidate set of calibration functions. The framework established provides an efficient methodology for chemistry-specific, large-scale investigations of the dynamics and mechanics of epoxy resins.

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