Molecular dynamics simulations of uniaxial deformation of thermoplastic polyimides†
The results of atomistic molecular-dynamics simulations of mechanical properties of heterocyclic polymer subjected to uniaxial deformation are reported. A new amorphous thermoplastic polyimide R–BAPO with a repeat unit consisting of dianhydride 1,3-bis-(3′,4,-dicarboxyphenoxy)diphenyl (dianhydride R) and diamine 4,4′-bis-(4′′-aminophenoxy)diphenyloxide (diamine BAPO) was chosen for the simulations. Our primary goal was to establish the impact of various factors (sample preparation method, molecular mass, and cooling and deformation rates) on the elasticity modulus. In particular, we found that the elasticity modulus was only slightly affected by the degree of equilibration, the molecular mass and the size of the simulation box. This is most likely due to the fact that the main contribution to the elasticity modulus is from processes on scales smaller than the entanglement length. Essentially, our simulations reproduce the logarithmic dependence of the elasticity modulus on cooling and deformation rates, which is normally observed in experiments. With the use of the temperature dependence analysis of the elasticity modulus we determined the flow temperature of R–BAPO to be 580 K in line with the experimental data available. Furthermore, we found that the application of high external pressure to the polymer sample during uniaxial deformation can improve the mechanical properties of the polyimide. Overall, the results of our simulations clearly demonstrate that atomistic molecular-dynamics simulations represent a powerful and accurate tool for studying the mechanical properties of heterocyclic polymers and can therefore be useful for the virtual design of new materials, thereby supporting cost-effective synthesis and experimental research.