Mechanical Response of Two-Dimensional Polymer Networks: Role of Topology, Rate Dependence, and Damage Accumulation

Konik Kothari, Yuhang Hu, Sahil Gupta, Ahmed Elbanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The skeleton of many natural and artificial soft materials can be abstracted as networks of fibers/polymers interacting in a nonlinear fashion. Here, we present a numerical model for networks of nonlinear, elastic polymer chains with rate-dependent crosslinkers similar to what is found in gels. The model combines the worm-like chain (WLC) at the polymer level with the transition state theory for crosslinker bond dynamics. We study the damage evolution and the force-displacement response of these networks under uniaxial stretching for different loading rates, network topology, and crosslinking density. Our results suggest a complex nonmonotonic response as the loading rate or the crosslinking density increases. We discuss this in terms of the microscopic deformation mechanisms and suggest a novel framework for increasing toughness and ductility of polymer networks using a bio-inspired sacrificial bonds and hidden length (SBHL) mechanism. This work highlights the role of local network characteristics on macroscopic mechanical observables and opens new pathways for designing tough polymer networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031008
JournalJournal of Applied Mechanics, Transactions ASME
Volume85
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Keywords

  • Polymer network
  • damage mechanics
  • soft materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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