Mechanical Properties of Glassy Polymer Blends and Thermosets (Rigby, Materials Design)


“Mechanical Properties of Glassy Polymer Blends and Thermosets from Atomistic Simulations”

David Rigby
Materials Design, Inc.


Knowledge of the elastic constants of glassy engineering polymers and thermosets is important in a variety of aerospace, automotive, and related engineering applications. Several attempts at using atomistic-level simulations to predict mechanical behavior were made beginning with Theodorou’s work in the mid 1980's and extending through the mid 1990's. However, widespread use of simulation was impeded by a number of factors such as the limited availability of high accuracy force fields and by the fact that significant computational resource is required to sample effectively the distribution of molecular packing found in amorphous polymers, either through averaging the computed elastic constants of many smaller models containing a few thousand atoms, or through use of much larger models. Furthermore, irrespective of the system size and number of independent models studied, there was a lack of attention directed towards relating elastic constant data determined on collections of nanoscopic domains to precise predictions of the elastic constants of bulk macroscopic material. A significant contribution to this data analysis problem was made by Suter and Eichinger in their 2002 paper addressing the question of how to effectively analyze elastic constants computed for multiple independent simulated models, using methods developed earlier by Hill and Walpole for composites. In view of the improvements in force field quality, and development of powerful simulation codes such as LAMMPS, we have attempted to reassess the question of the precision and accuracy with which it is now possible to perform predictions of elastic constants of glassy amorphous polymers. This presentation will illustrate two aspects of recent research, first addressing the question of precision and accuracy by exploring prediction of the relatively small changes in elastic moduli of the well-known polystyrene-poly(phenylene oxide) miscible blend system that occur as the blend composition is varied. In addition to comparing the predictions with experiment, we examine the sampling of individual independent configurations required to obtain predictions with the necessary precision. The second study continues by focusing on elastic constants of thermosetting amine-cured epoxy resins, created using the MedeA® simulation environment, and based on reactants with differing chemical functionalities, which are observed experimentally to possess somewhat different moduli. Selected aspects of crosslinked model building, including gelation and effects of induced unequal reactivity (substitution effect), will be discussed in addition to the mechanical properties of the resulting model thermosets.

Speaker Background

David is a Senior Scientist at Materials Design® working in the area of polymers and organic materials with a specialization in forcefield and related methods. David received his BSc in Polymer Chemistry and a doctorate in Polymer Physical Chemistry from the University of Manchester under the guidance of Professor Robert Stepto. He then performed postdoctoral work with Professor R. J. Roe at the University of Cincinnati studying the thermodynamics of polymer blends, before returning to the field of computational polymer science, publishing the first ever papers on molecular dynamics simulation studies of polymer liquids and glasses. Before joining Materials Design®, he held the position of Corporate Fellow at Accelrys Software, Inc., where he was engaged in multiple aspects of polymer modeling with the Polymer Modeling Consortium and contract research groups. He has championed and contributed to development of polymer modeling software, and has placed significant emphasis on high accuracy 'Class II' organic forcefields and on complementary simulation and analysis tools including the classical Discover simulation program and more recently the Sandia LAMMPS program. His extensive experience applying these simulation techniques to deliver contract research solutions to industry includes drug formulation, aerospace composite, polymer membrane, fuel cell development, personal care, electronic packaging and engineering polymers.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Michael’s at Shoreline
2960 N Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA



6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration  $30 $15
Registration $35 $20
Walk-in (not guaranteed) $40 $25

Lecture-only is free.



We accept cash or checks at the door, or online payment via credit card. No-shows are responsible for full payment of registration fee.


Please register below or contact:

Len Radzilowski
phone: 650-361-3264

Deadline for registration:

11:59PM, Wednesday, July 19 for early registration discount.
5:00PM, Tuesday, July 25 for regular registration.

Dinner Selection:

Seafood - Broiled salmon with lemon beurre blanc
Chicken - Chicken portobello
Vegetarian - Vegetable brochette with wild rice

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Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.