Authors Galuschko, A. ; Sommer, J.-U.
Title Co-nonsolvency response of a polymer brush: A molecular dynamics study
Date 11.07.2019
Number 56913
Abstract Using molecular dynamics simulations, we study the response of a polymer brush exposed to co-nonsolvent (CNS), which acts as a preferential solvent for the polymer. We investigate a broad range of attractions between CNS and monomers and of grafting densities over the full range of cosolvent volume fractions. We compare our simulation results with the recently proposed adsorption–attraction model for co-nonsolvency in polymer brushes. The brush layer collapses with increasing CNS concentration into a more compact layer and followed by a reswelling toward sufficiently high CNS concentrations. As the strength of attraction of CNS toward the brush increases, the collapse transition becomes discontinuous. Increasing the grafting density leads to higher sensitivity with respect to CNS but also to a weaker collapse behavior as predicted from the analytical model. In the narrow collapse region, two states of the brush layer coexist, as can be expected from the type-II phase-transition behavior. The coexistence states are identified by analyzing the density profiles. Here, a dense layer is formed at the substrate, which is covered by a swollen layer. Both collapse and coexistence behaviors are even more pronounced in polydisperse brushes, indicating the robust nature of the co-nonsolvency effect in polymer brushes.
Publisher Macromolecules
Citation Macromolecules 52 (2019) 4120-4130

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