The fracture of highly-crosslinked networks is investigated by molecular dynamics simulations. The network is modeled as a bead-spring polymer network between two solid surfaces. The network is dynamically formed by crosslinking an equilibrated liquid mixture. Tensile pull fracture is simulated as a function of the number of interfacial bonds. The sequence of molecular structural deformations that lead to failure are determined, and the connectivity is found to strongly control the stress-strain response and failure modes. The failure strain is related to the minimal paths in the network that connect the two solid surfaces. The failure stress is a fraction of the ideal stress required to fracture all the interfacial bonds, and is linearly proportional to the number of interfacial bonds. By allowing only a single bond between a crosslinker and the surface, interfacial failure always occurs. Allowing up to half of the crosslinker’s bonds to occur with the surface, cohesive failure can occur.
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Stevens, M.J. Simulation of Interfacial Fracture in Highly Crosslinked Adhesives. MRS Online Proceedings Library 629, 83 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-629-FF8.3