Size-dependent penetrant diffusion in polymer glasses

D Meng and K Zhang and SK Kumar, SOFT MATTER, 14, 4226-4230 (2018).

DOI: 10.1039/c8sm00701b

Molecular Dynamics simulations are used to understand the underpinning basis of the transport of gas-like solutes in deeply quenched polymeric glasses. As found in previous work, small solutes, with sizes smaller than 0.15 times the chain monomer size, move as might be expected in a medium with large pores. In contrast, the motion of larger solutes is activated and is strongly facilitated by matrix motion. In particular, solute motion is coupled to the local elastic fluctuations of the matrix as characterized by the Debye-Waller factor. While similar ideas have been previously proposed for the viscosity of supercooled liquids above their glass transition, to our knowledge, this is the first illustration of this concept in the context of solute mass transport in deeply quenched polymer glasses.

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