Strain hardening of polymer glasses: Effect of entanglement density, temperature, and rate



The strain hardening behavior of model polymer glasses is studied with simulations over a wide range of entanglement densities, temperatures, strain rates, and chain lengths. Entangled polymers deform affinely at scales larger than the entanglement length as assumed in entropic network models of strain hardening. The dependence of strain hardening on strain and entanglement density is also consistent with these models, but the temperature dependence has the opposite trend. The dependence on temperature, rate, and interaction strength can instead be understood as reflecting changes in the flow stress. Microscopic analysis of local rearrangements and the primitive paths between entanglements is used to test models of strain hardening. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 44: 3487–3500, 2006