Glassy correlations and microstructures in randomly cross-linked homopolymer blends

2006 | journal article. A publication of Göttingen

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​Glassy correlations and microstructures in randomly cross-linked homopolymer blends​
Wald, C.; Goldbart, P. M. & Zippelius, A. ​ (2006) 
The Journal of Chemical Physics124(21) art. 214905​.​ DOI: 

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Wald, Christian; Goldbart, Paul M.; Zippelius, Annette 
We consider a microscopic model of a polymer blend that is prone to phase separation. Permanent cross-links are introduced between randomly chosen pairs of monomers, drawn from the Deam-Edwards distribution. Thereby, not only density but also concentration fluctuations of the melt are quenched-in in the gel state, which emerge upon sufficient cross-linking. We derive a Landau expansion in terms of the order parameters for gelation and phase separation, and analyze it on the mean-field level, including Gaussian fluctuations. The mixed gel is characterized by thermal as well as time-persistent (glassy) concentration fluctuations. Whereas the former are independent of the preparation state, the latter reflect the concentration fluctuations at the instant of cross-linking, provided the mesh size is smaller than the correlation length of phase separation. The mixed get becomes unstable to microphase separation upon lowering the temperature in the gel phase. Whereas the length scale of microphase separation is given by the mesh size, at least close to the transition, the emergent microstructure depends on the composition and compressibility of the melt. Hexagonal structures, as well as lamellas or random structures with a unique wavelength, can be energetically favorable. (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics.
Issue Date
Amer Inst Physics
The Journal of Chemical Physics 
1089-7690; 0021-9606



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