Simple and convenient mapping of molecular dynamics mechanical property predictions of bisphenol-F epoxy for strain rate, temperature, and degree of cure

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It is well-known that all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) predictions of mechanical properties of thermoset resins suffer from multiple accuracy issues associated with their viscoelastic nature. The nanosecond simulation times of MD simulations do not allow for the direct simulation of the molecular conformational relaxations that occur under laboratory time scales. This adversely affects the prediction of mechanical properties at realistic strain rates, intermediate degrees of cure, and elevated temperatures. While some recent studies have utilized a time-temperature superposition approach to relate MD predictions to expected laboratory observations, such an approach becomes prohibitively difficult when simulating thermosets with a combination of strain rates, intermediate degrees of cure, and temperatures. In this study, a phenomenological approach is developed to map the predictions of Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio for a DGEBF/DETDA epoxy system to the corresponding laboratory-based properties for intermediate degrees of cure and temperatures above and below the glass transition temperature. The approach uses characterization data from dynamical mechanical analysis temperature sweep experiments. The mathematical formulation and experimental characterization of the mapping is described, and the resulting mapping of computationally-predicted to experimentally-observed elastic properties for various degrees of cure and temperatures are demonstrated and validated. This mapping is particularly important to mitigate the strain-rate effect associated with MD predictions, as well as to accurately predict mechanical properties at elevated temperatures and intermediate degrees of cure to facilitate accurate and efficient composite material process modeling.

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Soft matter