Molecular dynamics simulations of supramolecular polymer rheology

ZL Li and H Djohari and EE Dormidontova, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 133, 184904 (2010).

DOI: 10.1063/1.3498781

Using equilibrium and nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations, we studied the equilibrium and rheological properties of dilute and semidilute solutions of head-to-tail associating polymers. In our simulation model, a spontaneous complementary reversible association between the donor and the acceptor groups at the ends of oligomers was achieved by introducing a combination of truncated pseudo-Coulombic attractive potential and Lennard Jones repulsive potential between donor, acceptor, and neighboring groups. We have calculated the equilibrium properties of supramolecular polymers, such as the ring/chain equilibrium, average molecular weight, and molecular weight distribution of self-assembled chains and rings, which all agree well with previous analytical and computer modeling results. We have investigated shear thinning of solutions of 8- and 20-bead associating oligomers with different association energies at different temperatures and oligomer volume fractions. All reduced viscosity data for a given oligomer length can be collapsed into one master curve, exhibiting two power-law regions of shear-thinning behavior with an exponent of -0.55 at intermediate ranges of the reduced shear rate beta and -0.8 (or -0.9) at larger shear rates. The equilibrium viscosity of supramolecular solutions with different oligomer lengths and associating energies is found to obey a power-law scaling dependence on oligomer volume fraction with an exponent of 1.5, in agreement with the experimental observations for several dilute or semidilute solutions of supramolecular polymers. This implies that dilute and semidilute supramolecular polymer solutions exhibit high polydispersity but may not be sufficiently entangled to follow the reptation mechanism of relaxation. (C) 2010 American Institute of Physics. doi:10.1063/1.3498781

Return to Publications page