Molecular Mechanism of Stabilization of Thin Films for Improved Water Evaporation Protection

G Yiapanis and AJ Christofferson and M Plazzer and MP Weir and EL Prime and GG Qiao and DH Solomon and I Yarovsky, LANGMUIR, 29, 14451-14459 (2013).

DOI: 10.1021/la402275p

All-atom molecular dynamics simulations and experimental characterization have been used to examine the structure and dynamics of novel evaporation-suppressing films where the addition of a water- soluble polymer to an ethylene glycol monooctadecyl ether monolayer leads to improved water evaporation resistance. Simulations and Langmuir trough experiments demonstrate the surface activity of poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP). Subsequent MD simulations performed on the thin films supported by the PVP sublayer show that, at low surface pressures, the polymer tends to concentrate at the film/water interface. The simulated atomic concentration profiles, hydrogen bonding patterns, and mobility analyses of the water-polymer-monolayer interfaces reveal that the presence of PVP increases the atomic density near the monolayer film, improves the film stability, and reduces the mobility of interfacial waters. These observations explain the molecular basis of the improved efficacy of these monolayer/polymer systems for evaporation protection of water and can be used to guide future development of organic thin films for other applications.

Return to Publications page