A multi-chain polymer slip-spring model with fluctuating number of entanglements: Density fluctuations, confinement, and phase separation

Abstract

Coarse grained simulation approaches provide powerful tools for the prediction of the equilibrium properties of polymeric systems. Recent efforts have sought to develop coarse-graining strategies capable of predicting the non-equilibrium behavior of entangled polymeric materials. Slip-link and slip-spring models, in particular, have been shown to be capable of reproducing several key aspects of the linear response and rheology of polymer melts. In this work, we extend a previously proposed multi-chain slip-spring model in a way that correctly incorporates the effects of the fluctuating environment in which polymer segments are immersed. The model is used to obtain the equation of state associated with the slip-springs, and the results are compared to those of related numerical approaches and an approximate analytical expression. The model is also used to examine a polymer melt confined into a thin film, where an inhomogeneous distribution of polymer segments is observed, and the corresponding inhomogeneities associated with density fluctuations are reflected on the spatial slip-spring distribution.

Publication
The Journal of Chemical Physics
Date