Molecular dynamics study on the thermal conductivity of a single polyethylene chain: Strain dependence and potential models' effect

T Ito and H Matsubara and D Surblys and T Ohara, AIP ADVANCES, 12, 105223 (2022).

DOI: 10.1063/5.0095975

The thermal conductivity of a single polymer chain, which is an important factor in the rational design of polymer-based thermal management materials, is strongly affected by the strain state of the chain. In the present study, using non-equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations, the thermal conductivity of a single polyethylene chain, representing a typical polymer chain, was calculated as a function of strain. To investigate the effect of different modeling of covalent bonds, the results were compared for reactive and non-reactive potential models, the AIREBO and NERD potentials, respectively. When the strain epsilon was as small as epsilon < -0.03, i.e., under slight compression, the thermal conductivity values were similar regardless of the potential model and increased with increasing strain. However, the two potential models showed qualitatively different behaviors for larger strains up to epsilon < 0.15: the thermal conductivity calculated by the non-reactive potential continually grows with increasing strain, whereas that by the reactive potential model is saturated. The analysis of internal stress and vibrational density of states suggested that the saturation behavior is due to the weakening of the covalent bond force as the C-C bond elongates, and thus, the result of the reactive model is likely more realistic. However, for epsilon > 0.1, the reactive potential also produced unphysical results due to the effect of the switching function, describing the formation and breaking of covalent bonds. The present results indicate that careful selection of the potential model and deformation range is necessary when investigating the properties of polymers under tensile strain. (C) 2022 Author(s).

Return to Publications page