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Title: Direct comparisons of X-ray scattering and atomistic molecular dynamics simulations for precise acid copolymers and ionomers

Designing acid- and ion-containing polymers for optimal proton, ion, or water transport would benefit profoundly from predictive models or theories that relate polymer structures with ionomer morphologies. Recently, atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were performed to study the morphologies of precise poly(ethylene-co-acrylic acid) copolymer and ionomer melts. Here, we present the first direct comparisons between scattering profiles, I(q), calculated from these atomistic MD simulations and experimental X-ray data for 11 materials. This set of precise polymers has spacers of exactly 9, 15, or 21 carbons between acid groups and has been partially neutralized with Li, Na, Cs, or Zn. In these polymers, the simulations at 120 °C reveal ionic aggregates with a range of morphologies, from compact, isolated aggregates (type 1) to branched, stringy aggregates (type 2) to branched, stringy aggregates that percolate through the simulation box (type 3). Excellent agreement is found between the simulated and experimental scattering peak positions across all polymer types and aggregate morphologies. The shape of the amorphous halo in the simulated I(q) profile is in excellent agreement with experimental I(q). We found that the modified hard-sphere scattering model fits both the simulation and experimental I(q) data for type 1 aggregate morphologies, and the aggregatemore » sizes and separations are in agreement. Given the stringy structure in types 2 and 3, we develop a scattering model based on cylindrical aggregates. Both the spherical and cylindrical scattering models fit I(q) data from the polymers with type 2 and 3 aggregates equally well, and the extracted aggregate radii and inter- and intra-aggregate spacings are in agreement between simulation and experiment. Furthermore, these dimensions are consistent with real-space analyses of the atomistic MD simulations. By combining simulations and experiments, the ionomer scattering peak can be associated with the average distance between branches of type 2 or 3 aggregates. Furthermore, this direct comparison of X-ray scattering data to the atomistic MD simulations is a substantive step toward providing a comprehensive, predictive model for ionomer morphology, gives substantial support for this atomistic MD model, and provides new credibility to the presence of stringy, branched, and percolated ionic aggregates in precise ionomer melts.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  3. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0024-9297; 562236
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
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Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 48; Journal ID: ISSN 0024-9297
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States