1 The Department of Science, Systems and Models, Roskilde University2 IMFUFA, Department of Science and Environment, Roskilde University3 Department of Science and Environment, Roskilde University4 Vejdirektoratet
We propose a four-component united-atom molecular model of bitumen. The model includes realistic chemical constituents and introduces a coarse graining level that suppresses the highest frequency modes. Molecular dynamics simulations of the model are carried out using graphic-processor-units based software in time spans in order of microseconds, which enables the study of slow relaxation processes characterizing bitumen. This paper also presents results of the model dynamics as expressed through the mean-square displacement, the stress autocorrelation function, and rotational relaxation. The diffusivity of the individual molecules changes little as a function of temperature and reveals distinct dynamical time scales. Different time scales are also observed for the rotational relaxation. The stress autocorrelation function features a slow non-exponential decay for all temperatures studied. From the stress autocorrelation function, the shear viscosity and shear modulus are evaluated, showing a viscous response at frequencies below 100 MHz. The model predictions of viscosity and diffusivities are compared to experimental data, giving reasonable agreement. The model shows that the asphaltene, resin, and resinous oil tend to form nano-aggregates. The characteristic dynamical relaxation time of these aggregates is larger than that of the homogeneously distributed parts of the system, leading to strong dynamical heterogeneity.