Luo, C. ; Sommer, J.-U.
Coding coarse grained polymer model for LAMMPS and its application to polymer crystallization

We present a patch code for LAMMPS to implement a coarse grained (CG) model of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA). LAMMPS is a powerful molecular dynamics (MD) simulator developed at Sandia National Laboratories. Our patch code implements tabulated angular potential and Lennard-Jones-9-6 (LJ96) style interaction for PVA. Benefited from the excellent parallel efficiency of LAMMPS, our patch code is suitable for large-scale simulations.
This CG-PVA code is used to study polymer crystallization, which is a long-standing unsolved problem in polymer physics. By using parallel computing, cooling and heating processes for long chains are simulated. The results show that chain-folded structures resembling the lamellae of polymer crystals are formed during the cooling process. The evolution of the static structure factor during the crystallization transition indicates that long-range density order appears before local crystalline packing. This is consistent with some experimental observations by small/wide angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS). During the heating process, it is found that the crystalline regions are still growing until they are fully melted, which can be confirmed by the evolution both of the static structure factor and average stem length formed by the chains. This two-stage behavior indicates that melting of polymer crystals is far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Our results concur with various experiments. It is the first time that such growth/reorganization behavior is clearly observed by MD simulations.
Our code can be easily used to model other type of polymers by providing a file containing the tabulated angle potential data and a set of appropriate parameters.

Computer Physics Communications 180



July 2009