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Simulations of Glass Transition and Mechanical Behavior of Off-Stoichiometric Crosslinked Polymers...

by Cody Bezik, Erica Redline, Jeffrey C Foster, Amalie L Frischknecht
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This work explores the influence of blend composition, network architecture, and hydrogen bonding on the material properties of crosslinked epoxy networks, focusing on the glass transition temperature (Tg) and Young’s modulus (Y). We used coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to simulate varying compositions of stiff and flexible components in epoxy monomer blends with varying excess of curative. We find that, without hydrogen bonding, networks of any composition show a monotonically increasing Tg with decreasing excess curative, consistent with theory. In contrast, we find that when hydrogen bonding is introduced, the binary blend networks show significant enhancement in Tg for lightly crosslinked systems. This result contributes to an explanation of the anomalous Tg behavior observed experimentally in these systems. We further find that Y is generally enhanced by hydrogen bonds, especially below Tg, demonstrating that hydrogen bonding has a significant influence on mechanical properties and can allow access to other desirable dynamic behavior, especially self-healing.