Un modèle de particules à patchs pour l'étude numérique de la réponse mécanique des gels

Abstract : In the current language, the term “gel” refers to a large number of materials that have intermediate behavior between solid and liquid. They generally have a low yield stress, and can be soft and ductile as well as hard and brittle. So, the term "gel" refers primarily to a type of macroscopic behavior. At the microscopic scale, these materials are formed by small elements, colloids or polymers, suspended in a liquid, which ensures a global incompressibility. Colloids, as well as polymers, are subject to thermal motion which gives them a certain ability to reorganize. This allows some gels to flow like liquids. Yet, by definition, gels also exhibit a yield stress which allows them to be stable in the absence of mechanical stress: this is possible because the colloids or polymers that compose them tend to stick together and form a network structure. It is thus essential that these elements develop mutually attractive interactions that are responsible for the formation of a weak, yet mechanically stable, network within the suspending fluid. The objective of this thesis is to build numerical tools, based on molecular dynamics, to study the formation and the mechanical behavior of gels. For this, we use a model of ``patchy'' particles taken from the literature. It consists of spherical objects at the surface of which are grafted small patches that attract each other. The interaction between patchy particles thus combine a central repulsion with attractive potentials between patches. Considering these particles as ``building blocks '' that form polymers, we have built and characterized a model of semi-flexible linear polymers of controlled rigidity; we have then studied the crosslinking kinetics of chemical gels and their mechanical (elastic) response under a constant strain. We were able to show that the network topology depends significantly of crosslinking conditions, and determines quite significantly the elastic response of the material. A preliminary study of colloïdal physical gels is also presented in the last part of the document
Keywords : Polymers Gels Colloïds
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Theses
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Guillaume Chivot. Un modèle de particules à patchs pour l'étude numérique de la réponse mécanique des gels. Matériaux. Université Paris-Est, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015PESC1169⟩. ⟨tel-01298545⟩

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