Chemical degradation of polymer coatings via a photo-oxidative pathway, denoted as photo-degradation, results in physical changes which, in spite of the long service life of coatings, eventually lead to failure of the material. Conventional molecular simulations cannot cope with this process with its wide range of time and length scales, related to the rare occurrence of ‘degradation events’ as compared to the time scale of structural relaxation of the polymer chains. Therefore a combination of suitable simulation techniques is needed to overcome this problem. By coupling a kinetic Monte Carlo simulation to a Dissipative Particle Dynamics method, a novel simulation approach has been developed that makes it possible to take into account chemical and physical pathways of the photo-degradation process. For a model polyester-urethane coating photo-degradation under inert conditions was studied with and without taking structural relaxation into account as well as by varying the ratio of reaction rate constants. For the model coating studied, taking physical relaxation into account proved to be essential for modeling the photo-degradation process.
|Number of pages
|Polymer Degradation and Stability
|Published - 2014