Sharing the Load: Stress Redistribution Governs Fracture of Polymer Double Networks

J Tauber and L Rovigatti and S Dussi and J van der Gucht, MACROMOLECULES, 54, 8563-8574 (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c01275

The stress response of polymer double networks depends not only on the properties of the constituent networks but also on the interactions arising between them. Here, we demonstrate, via coarse-grained simulations, that both their global stress response and their microscopic fracture mechanics are governed by load sharing through these internet-work interactions. By comparing our results with affine predictions, where stress redistribution is by definition homogeneous, we show that stress redistribution is highly inhomogeneous. In particular, the affine prediction overestimates the fraction of broken chains by almost an order of magnitude. Furthermore, homogeneous stress distribution predicts a single fracture process, while in our simulations, fracture of sacrificial chains takes place in two steps governed by load sharing within a network and between networks, respectively. Our results thus provide a detailed microscopic picture of how inhomogeneous stress redistribution after rupture of chains governs the fracture of polymer double networks.

Return to Publications page