A conjugate gradient Monte Carlo algorithm was used to simulate the annealing of two and three dimensional end-linked unimodal and bimodal polydimethylsiloxane networks. Equilibrium is satisfied at every crosslink during network energy minimization resulting in distinct differences in network characteristics from classical assumptions. Annealed unimodal networks were found to retain the uniformly dispersed arrangement of crosslinks generated during the crosslinking algorithm. Radial distribution functions of chain vector lengths for various unimodal systems show a shift in the mean chain length from the rms length prior to annealing to shorter lengths upon annealing. Short chains in bimodal networks cluster during the annealing process in agreement with experimental investigations of short chain agglomeration in the literature. This work provides the first predictions of bimodal chain network clustering via simulated network formation and demonstrates the critical role of network annealing in determining the initial configurations of deformable elastomeric networks. This information is extremely useful in the development of accurate constitutive models of bimodal networks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)