Molecular dynamics simulation of the capillary leveling of viscoelastic polymer films

I Tanis and H Meyer and T Salez and E Raphael and AC Maggs and J Baschnagel, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 146, 203327 (2017).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4978938

Surface tension-driven flow techniques have recently emerged as an efficient means of shedding light into the rheology of thin polymer films. Motivated by experimental and theoretical approaches in films bearing a varying surface topography, we present results on the capillary relaxation of a square pattern at the free surface of a viscoelastic polymer film, using molecular dynamics simulations of a coarse-grained polymer model. Height profiles are monitored as a function of time after heating the system above its glass-transition temperature and their time dependence is fitted to the theory of capillary leveling. Results show that the viscosity is not constant, but time dependent. In addition to providing a complementary insight about the local inner mechanisms, our simulations of the capillary-leveling process therefore probe the viscoelasticity of the polymer and not only its viscosity, in contrast to most experimental approaches. Published by AIP Publishing.

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