Dynamics of solvent-free grafted nanoparticles

A Chremos and AZ Panagiotopoulos and DL Koch, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 136, 044902 (2012).

DOI: 10.1063/1.3679442

The diffusivity and structural relaxation characteristics of oligomer- grafted nanoparticles have been investigated with simulations of a previously proposed coarse-grained model at atmospheric pressure. Solvent-free, polymer-grafted nanoparticles as well as grafted nanoparticles in a melt were compared to a reference system of bare (ungrafted) particles in a melt. Whereas longer chains lead to a larger hydrodynamic radius and lower relative diffusivity for grafted particles in a melt, bulk solvent-free nanoparticles with longer chains have higher relative diffusivities than their short chain counterparts. Solvent-free nanoparticles with short chains undergo a glass transition as indicated by a vanishing diffusivity, diverging structural relaxation time and the formation of body-centered-cubic-like order. Nanoparticles with longer chains exhibit a more gradual increase in the structural relaxation time with decreasing temperature and concomitantly increasing particle volume fraction. The diffusivity of the long chain nanoparticles exhibits a minimum at an intermediate temperature and volume fraction where the polymer brushes of neighboring particles overlap, but must stretch to fill the interparticle space. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. doi:10.1063/1.3679442

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