Surface enrichment driven by polymer topology

G Pellicane and M Megnidio-Tchoukouegno and GT Mola and M Tsige, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 93, 050501 (2016).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.93.050501

We report a molecular dynamics simulation study of free-standing films of a blend of linear and cyclic polymer chains. We find that the composition of linear chains at the interface is enhanced relative to their bulk value for short chains but is depleted for long chains. Our findings are in agreement with recent experimental evidence reported for blends of short linear and cyclic polystyrene chains and highlight the genuine surface behavior in the short chain-length regime where theoretical predictions are more difficult. We highlight surface enrichment at low-energy surfaces as the result of competition between different entropic and enthalpic contributions to the interfacial free energy of the system.

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