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Title: Dynamics of Confined Flexible and Unentangled Polymer Melts in Highly Adsorbing Cylindrical Pores

Inspired by the recent neutron spin echo experiments (NSE) designed to address the dynamic phenomena in polymer melts that are induced by interactions with a confining surface, we performed coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to replicate the experimental results in order to provide new molecular insight for the observations. The results show excellent agreement in the values obtained for the normalized coherent single chain dynamic structure factor, S(Q;Dt)/S(Q;0) , between experiments and simulations. The simulations indicate that using different chain molecular weights that are used to achieve scattering contrast results in the uneven distribution of scatterers in the radial direction because lower molecular weight chains prefer to adsorb in the confining surface. In the bulk configuration, both simulations and experiments confirm that the polymer chains follow Rouse dynamics. However, under confinement, the Rouse modes are suppressed. The mean-squared radius of gyration, R2g, and the average relative shape anisotropy k2 of the conformation of the polymer chains indicate a pancake-like conformation near the surface and a bulk-like conformation near the center of the confining cylinder. Direct visualization of the polymers in the simulation confirm the pancake-like conformation of the adsorbed chains and the presence of trains, loops and tails in the regionmore » between the adsorbed chains and the chains not in contact with the surface. Despite the presence of these different conformations, the average form factor of the confined chains still follows the Debye function which describes linear ideal chains, which is in agreement with small angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiments. The experimentally inaccessible mean squared displacement of the confined monomers, calculated as a function of radial distance from the pore surface, was obtained in the simulations. The simulation shows a gradual increase of the MSD from the adsorbed, but mobile layer, to that similar to the bulk far away from the surface.« less
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  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Chemical Physics; Journal Volume: 141; Journal Issue: 7
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program; USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States