Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Surface and Interfacial Tension of Graft Polymer Melts
M Jacobs and H Liang and B Pugnet and AV Dobrynin, LANGMUIR, 34, 12974-12981 (2018).
Understanding the surface properties of polymer melts is crucial for designing new polymeric coatings, adhesives, and composites. Here, we study the effect of molecular architecture on surface and interfacial tension of melts of graft and linear polymers by molecular dynamics simulations. In particular, we elucidate the effect of the degree of polymerization of the side chains n(sc) and their grafting density 1/n(g) on the surface tension of the graft polymer/vacuum interface, gamma(G), and the interfacial tension of the interface between graft and linear polymer melts, gamma(GL). For the case of the graft polymer/vacuum interface, our simulations confirm that the surface tension is a linear function of the fraction of the backbone ends f(be) and side chain ends f(se), gamma(G) = gamma(infinity) - gamma(be)f(be) - Delta gamma f(se), where gamma(infinity) is the surface tension of the system of graft polymers with infinite molecular weight and gamma(be) and Delta gamma are surface tension contributions from backbone ends and difference between contributions coming from the side chain ends and grafting points, respectively. This dependence of the surface tension highlights the entropic origin of the surface tension corrections associated with the redistribution of the grafting points and ends at the interface. However, the interfacial tension of the interface between graft and linear polymer melts does not show any significant dependence on the molecular structure of the graft polymers, thus pointing out the dominance of enthalpic contribution to the interfacial tension.
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