Open Access Open Badges Nano Express

Effect of chain architecture on the compression behavior of nanoscale polyethylene particles

Jianyang Wu1, Jianying He1, Gregory M Odegard2 and Zhiliang Zhang1*

Author Affiliations

1 NTNU Nanomechanical Lab, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Richard Birkelands vei 1a, Trondheim 7491, Norway

2 Department of Mechanical Engineering - Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:322  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-322

Published: 15 July 2013


Polymeric particles with controlled internal molecular architectures play an important role as constituents in many composite materials for a number of emerging applications. In this study, classical molecular dynamics techniques are employed to predict the effect of chain architecture on the compression behavior of nanoscale polyethylene particles subjected to simulated flat-punch testing. Cross-linked, branched, and linear polyethylene chain architectures are each studied in the simulations. Results indicate that chain architecture has a significant influence on the mechanical properties of polyethylene nanoparticles, with the network configuration exhibiting higher compressive strengths than the branched and linear architectures. These findings are verified with simulations of bulk polyethylene. The compressive stress versus strain profiles of particles show four distinct regimes, differing with that of experimental micron-sized particles. The results of this study indicate that the mechanical response of polyethylene nanoparticles can be custom-tailored for specific applications by changing the molecular architecture.

Chain architecture; Nanoscale particle; Spherical hydrostatic compression; Compression properties; Flat-punch MD simulation