Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Coarsening Kinetics of Complex Macromolecular Architectures in Bad Solvent

Version 1 : Received: 7 December 2019 / Approved: 8 December 2019 / Online: 8 December 2019 (17:38:30 CET)

How to cite: Paciolla, M.; Arismendi-Arrieta, D.J.; Moreno, A.J. Coarsening Kinetics of Complex Macromolecular Architectures in Bad Solvent. Preprints 2019, 2019120105 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201912.0105.v1). Paciolla, M.; Arismendi-Arrieta, D.J.; Moreno, A.J. Coarsening Kinetics of Complex Macromolecular Architectures in Bad Solvent. Preprints 2019, 2019120105 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201912.0105.v1).

Abstract

This study reports a general scenario for the out-of-equilibrium features of collapsing polymeric architectures. We use molecular dynamics simulations to characterize the coarsening kinetics, in bad solvent, for several macromolecular systems with an increasing degree of structural complexity. In particular, we focus on: flexible and semiflexible polymer chains, star polymers with 3 and 12 arms, and microgels with both ordered and disordered networks. Starting from a powerful analogy with critical phenomena, we construct a density field representation that removes fast fluctuations and provides a consistent characterization of the domain growth. Our results indicate that the coarsening kinetics presents a scaling behaviour that is independent of the solvent quality parameter, in analogy to time-temperature superposition principle. Interestingly, the domain growth in time follows a power-law behaviour that is approximately independent of the architecture for all the flexible systems; while it is steeper for the semiflexible chains. Nevertheless, the fractal nature of the dense regions emerging during the collapse exhibits the same scaling behaviour for all the macromolecules. This, suggests that the faster growing length scale in the semiflexible chains originates just from a faster mass diffusion along the chain contour, induced by the local stiffness. The decay of the dynamic correlations displays scaling behavior with the growing length scale of the system, which is a characteristic signature in coarsening phenomena.

Subject Areas

coarsening; deswelling; microgels; soft nanoparticles; simulations

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