Brownian dynamics of a compressed polymer brush model: Off-equilibrium response as a function of surface coverage and compression rate
2011 (English)In: Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics - PCCP, ISSN 1463-9076, E-ISSN 1463-9084, Vol. 13, no 35, 16084-16094 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We study the compressive behaviour of a polymer-covered surface (i.e., a "polymer brush'') using Brownian dynamics simulations. The model consists of grafted chains with variable flexibility, variable intra-and inter-chain interactions, as well as different surface coverage. We discuss the polymer brush response to confinement by considering variable rates of compression under a hard plane. Our results show a small degree of inter-chain entanglement, regardless of whether the interaction is attractive or merely excluded volume. We observe that the molecular shape depends strongly on the surface coverage. Dense brushes exhibit a limited degree of lateral deformation under compression; instead, chains undergo a transition that produces a local patch with near-solid packing. This effect due to surface density can be undone partially by increasing the attractive nature of the chain interaction, by modulating the rate of compression, or by allowing "soft anchoring'', i.e., the possible Brownian drift of the grafting bead on the surface. We have also studied the polymer brush relaxation while maintaining the compressing plane, as well as after its sudden removal. We find evidence that also the relaxation depends on surface density; dense brushes appear to be configurationally frustrated at high compression and are unable to undergo swelling, regardless of the pressure applied.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 13, no 35, 16084-16094 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-158668DOI: 10.1039/c1cp21433kISI: 000294167700042OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-158668DiVA: diva2:440631