The single chain limit of structural relaxation in a polyolefin blend

Andrew F. May, Janna K. Maranas

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14 Scopus citations


The influence of composition on component dynamics and relevant static properties in a miscible polymer blend is investigated using molecular dynamics simulation. Emphasis is placed on dynamics in the single chain dilution limit, as this limit isolates the role of inherent component mobility in the polymer's dynamic behavior when placed in a blend. For our systems, a biased local concentration affecting dynamics must arise primarily from chain connectivity, which is quantified by the self-concentration, because concentration fluctuations are minimized due to restraints on chain lengths arising from simulation considerations. The polyolefins simulated [poly(ethylene-propylene) (PEP) and poly(ethylene-butene) (PEB)] have similar structures and glass transition temperatures, and all interactions are dispersive in nature. We find that the dependence of dynamics upon composition differs between the two materials. Specifically, PEB (slower component) is more influenced by the environment than PEP. This is linked to a smaller self-concentration for PEB than PEP. We examine the accuracy of the Lodge-McLeish model (which is based on chain connectivity acting over the Kuhn segment length) in predicting simulation results for effective concentration. The model predicts the simulation results with high accuracy when the model's single parameter, the self-concentration, is calculated from simulation data. However, when utilizing the theoretical prediction of the self-concentration the model is not quantitatively accurate. The ability of the model to link the simulated self-concentration with biased local compositions at the Kuhn segment length provides strong support for the claim that chain connectivity is the leading cause of distinct mobility in polymer blends. Additionally, the direct link between the willingness of a polymer to be influenced by the environment and the value of the self-concentration emphasizes the importance of the chain connectivity. Furthermore, these findings are evidence that the Kuhn segment length is the relevant length scale controlling segmental dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024906
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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