Molecular Simulation of Thermosetting Polymer Hardening: Reactive Events Enabled by Controlled Topology Transfer

RH Meissner and J Konrad and B Boll and B Fiedler and D Zahn, MACROMOLECULES, 53, 9698-9705 (2020).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.0c02222

We present a nonhybrid quantum mechanical/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) type approach to tackle chemical reactions with substantial molecular reorganization. For this, molecular dynamics simulations with smoothly switched interaction models are used to suggest suitable product states, while a Monte Carlo algorithm is employed to assess the reaction likeliness subject to energetic feasibility. As a demonstrator, we study the cross-linking of bisphenol F diglycidyl ether (BFDGE) and 4,6-diethyl-2-methylbenzene-1,3-diamine (DETDA). The modeling of epoxy curing was supplemented by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) measurements, which confirm the degrees of cross-linking as a function of curing temperature. Likewise, the heat of formation and the mechanical properties of the resulting thermosetting polymer are found to be in good agreement with previous experiments.

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