Molecular dynamics study of the mechanical properties of polydisperse pressure-sensitive adhesives

Diego López Barreiro, Kai Jin, Francisco J. Martin-Martinez, Zhao Qin, Marc Hamm, Charles W. Paul, Markus J. Buehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Amorphous polymers are one of the primary materials used in pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs). Their design can be aided by a better understanding of the mechanisms governing the molecular and mesoscopic scale behavior. This work presents a molecular dynamics study of the toughness and failure modes of a coarse-grained polydisperse PSA model in probe peel tests, achieved by varying the crosslinking density and locations. Generally, the toughness of polydisperse PSAs increases at a crosslinking density of 0.5%, compared to the non-crosslinked structure, and declines at higher crosslinking densities, which also changes the failure mode from cohesive to adhesive. The performance is affected by the length of the polymer chains that form crosslinks, although high crosslinking densities make the system less sensitive to effects related to its polydispersity. The results herewith presented display an optimal performance when 35–45% of the particles in the system belong to the giant component of the PSA network. This is achieved at crosslinking densities of 0.5–1.0%, depending on the length of the chains that are allowed to crosslink.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Coarse-graining
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Polydispersity
  • Pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics


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