Friction between Brush Layers of Charged and Neutral Bottle-Brush Macromolecules. Molecular Dynamics Simulations

JMY Carrillo and D Russano and AV Dobrynin, LANGMUIR, 27, 14599-14608 (2011).

DOI: 10.1021/la203525r

Using molecular dynamics simulations, we study the lubricating properties of neutral and charged bottle-brush coatings as a function of the compression and shear stresses and brush grafting density. Our simulations have shown that in charged bottle-brush systems under shear there is a layer with excess counterions located in the middle between brush-bearing surfaces. The main deformation mode of the charged bottle- brush layers is associated with the backbone deformation, resulting in the backbone deformation ratio, alpha, and shear viscosity, eta, being universal functions of the Weissenberg number. In the case of neutral bottle-brush systems, in addition to the backbone deformation there is also side chain deformation. The coupling between backbone and side chain deformation violates universality in the deformation ratio, alpha, dependence on the Weissenberg number and results in scaling exponents varying with the compression stress and brush grafting density. The existence of different length scales controlling deformation of neutral bottle brushes manifests itself in the shear viscosity, eta, dependence on the shear rate, <(gamma)over dot>. Shear viscosity, eta, as a function of the shear rate, <(gamma)over dot> has two plateaus and two shear thinning regimes. The low shear rate plateau and shear thinning regime correspond to the backbone deformation, while the second plateau and shear thinning regime at moderate shear rates are due to side chain deformation. For both systems the value of the friction coefficient increases with increasing shear rate. The values of the friction coefficient for charged bottle-brush systems are about ten times smaller than corresponding values for neutral systems at the same shear rate.

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