Brownian Motion Simulation of Chain Pullout: Modeling Fracture in Polymer Blends

  • Galen T. Pickett
  • David Jasnow
  • Anna C. Balazs


We use Brownian dynamics to model the fracture of a polymer/polymer interface reinforced by “connector” chains [1]. The connectors weave back and forth across the boundary, forming single (diblock copolymer) or multiple “stitches” (random copolymer). We calculate the work to fracture this interface as a function of connector architecture and conformation, and find that multi-stitch connectors dramatically improve the interfacial strength. We rationalize this with scaling arguments, and discuss recent experiments. The conclusions provide guidelines for synthesizing connectors for high-strength composites.


Diblock Copolymer Random Copolymer Interfacial Strength Brownian Dynamic Matrix Chain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    G. T. Pickett, D. Jasnow, and A. C. Balazs, Phys. Rev. Letts. 77(4), 671, (1996).Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    D. Gersappe, D. Irvine, A. C. Balazs, L. Guo, M. Rafailovich, J. Sokolov, S. Schwarz, and D. Peiffer, Science 265(5175), 1072 (1994).Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    H. Brown, Annu. Rev. Mater. Sci. 21, 463 (1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    C.-A. Dai, B. J. Dair, K. H. Dai, C. K. Ober, E. J. Kramer, C.-Y. Hui, L. W. Jelinski, Phys. Rev. Lett. 73, 2472 (1994).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    M. Sikka, W. L. Chen, N. N. Pellegrini, and K. I. Winey, in preparation.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    L. A. Utracki, Polymer Blends and Alloys ( Hanser, New York, 1989 ).Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    F. Brochard-Wyart, P.-G. deGennes, L. Léger, Y. Marciano, and E. Raphael, J. Phys. Chem. 98, 9405 (1994).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    E. Raphael and P.-G. deGennes, J. Phys. Chem 96, 4002 (1992).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    H. Ji and P.-G. deGennes, Macromolecules 26, 520 (1993).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    D. Gersappe and A. C. Balais, Phys. Rev. E52 (5)[B] 5061.Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    C. Yeung, A. C. Balais, and D. Jasnow, Macromolecules 25, 1357 (1992).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    R. Kulasekere, H. Kaiser, J. F. Anker, T. P. Russell, H. R. Brown, C. J. Hawker, A. M. Mayes, Macromolecules 29, 5493 (1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    Y. Lyatskaya, D. Gersappe, N. A. Gross, and A. C. Balazs, J. Phys. Chem. 100, 1449 (1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    S. T. Milner and G. H. Fredrickson, Macromolecules 28, 7953 (1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    C. Creton, E. J. Kramer, C.-Y. Hui, and H. R. Brown, Macromolecules 25, 3075 (1992).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    J. M. Deutsch, Science 240, 922 (1988); J. M. Deutsch and T. L. Madden, J. Chem. Phys. 90, 2476 (1989).Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    M. Doi and S. F. Edwards, The Theory of Polymer Dynamics ( Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1986 ).Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    M. Rubinstein, L. Leibler and A. Ajdari, Polym. Prepr., Am. Chem. Soc., Div. Polym. Chem 35, 628 (1994); K. P. O’Connor and T. C. B. McLeish, Polymer 33, 4314 (1992); K. E. Evans, J. Polym. Sci. 25, 353 (1987); P. Prentice, Polymer 24, 346 (1983).Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    T. C. B. McLeish, C. J. G. Plummer and A. M. Donald, Polymer 30, 1651 (1989).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    B. Lin and P. L. Taylor, Macromolecules 27, 4212 (1994).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    J. Washiyama, E. J. Kramer, C. F. Creton, and C.-H. Hui Macromolecules 27, 2019 (1994).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. [22]
    Kramer, E. J. “Molecular Connectors at Polymer Interfaces; Hairs, Staples, and Stitches”, presented at March Meeting of the American Physical Society (1996).Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    Funded in part by ONR grant N00014–91-J-1363, NSF grant DMR-91–07102, and DOE grant DE-FG02–90ER45438 to A. C. B. and grant DMR-92–17935 to D. J. We thank Drs. D. Gersappe, C. Yeung, and M. Rubinstein for helpful discussions.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Galen T. Pickett
    • 1
  • David Jasnow
    • 2
  • Anna C. Balazs
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Petroleum EngineeringThe University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Astronomy and PhysicsThe University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations