Shock compression of semiflexible polymers

DA Vega and P Lance and E Zorzi and RA Register and LR Gómez, SOFT MATTER, 19, 6131-6139 (2023).

DOI: 10.1039/d3sm00765k

We employ molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the shock compression of linear semiflexible polymers. While the propagation velocity of a shock primarily depends on density, both chain rigidity and chain orientation significantly influence the shock width and the final temperature of the system. In general, the shock wave triggers molecular buckling in chains oriented perpendicular to the compression front. Following the passage of the front, the semiflexible chains buckle with a wavelength that decreases with the compression speed as & lambda;(m) & SIM; u(p)(-0.2), and subsequent relaxation leads to a banana-like liquid crystal phase. In ordered systems with molecules oriented perpendicular to the compression front, the shock width increases by a factor of up to 10 compared to a similar isotropic system, resulting in enhanced shock energy absorption. These findings indicate that chain stiffness plays a critical role in the impact absorption properties of polymeric materials.

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