Lubrication in polymer-brush bilayers in the weak interpenetration regime: Molecular dynamics simulations and scaling theories

PR Desai and S Das, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 98, 022503 (2018).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.98.022503

We conduct molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and develop scaling laws to quantify the lubrication behavior of weakly interpenetrated polymer brush bilayers in the presence of an external shear force. The weakly interpenetrated regime is characterized by 1 < d(g)/d(0) < 2, where d(g) is the gap between the opposing surfaces (where the brushes are grafted) and d(0) is the unperturbed brush height. MD simulations predict that in the shear thinning regime, characterized by a larger shear force or a large Weissenberg number (W), R-g(2)similar to W(0.19)and eta similar to W-0.38 where R-g is the chain extension in the direction of the shear and eta is the viscosity. These scaling behaviors, which are distinctly different from that witnessed in strongly compressed regime (for such a regime, characterized by d(g)/d(0) < 1, R-g(2) similar to W-0.53,and eta similar to W-0.46), match excellently with those predicted by our scaling theory.

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