Dynamic covalent network (or covalent adaptable network) polymers can rearrange their macromolecular chain network by bond exchange reactions (BERs) where an active unit replaces a unit in an existing bond to form a new bond. Such macromolecular events, when they occur in large amounts, can attribute to unusual properties that are not seen in conventional covalent network polymers, such as shape reforming and surface welding; the latter further enables the important attributes of material malleability and powder-based reprocessing. In this paper, a multiscale modeling framework is developed to study the surface welding of thermally induced dynamic covalent network polymers. At the macromolecular network level, a lattice model is developed to describe the chain density evolution across the interface and its connection to bulk stress relaxation due to BERs. The chain density evolution rule is then fed into a continuum level interfacial model that takes into account surface roughness and applied pressure to predict the effective elastic modulus and interfacial fracture energy of welded polymers. The model yields particularly accessible results where the moduli and interfacial strength of the welded samples as a function of temperature and pressure can be predicted with four parameters, three of which can be measured directly. The model identifies the dependency of surface welding efficiency on the applied thermal and mechanical fields: the pressure will affect the real contact area under the consideration of surface roughness of dynamic covalent network polymers; the chain density increment on the real contact area of interface is only dependent on the welding time and temperature. The modeling approach shows good agreement with experiments and can be extended to other types of dynamic covalent network polymers using different stimuli for BERs, such as light and moisture etc.
Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2016
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