Molecular modeling of crosslinked epoxy polymers: The effect of crosslink density on thermomechanical properties

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Molecular dynamics and molecular mechanics simulations are used to establish well-equilibrated, validated molecular models of the EPON 862-DETDA epoxy system with a range of crosslink densities using a united atom force field. Molecular dynamics simulations are subsequently used to predict the glass transition temperature, thermal expansion coefficients, and elastic properties of each of the crosslinked systems. The results indicate that glass transition temperature and elastic properties increase with increasing levels of crosslink density and the thermal expansion coefficient decreases with crosslink density, both above and below the glass transition temperature. The results demonstrate reasonable agreement with thermomechanical properties in the literature. The results also indicate that there may be a range of crosslink densities in epoxy systems beyond which there are limited changes in thermomechanical properties. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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