Title

Polymerization-Induced Phase Separation: Intermediate Dynamics

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2000

Department

Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

When phase separation is induced by polymerizating monomers in a mixture of monomers and nonreacting molecules, the dynamics is different depending on the time scale of polymerization tau(pl) and the time scale of phase separation tau(ps) Previous studies have explored the dynamic regimes where tau(pl) << tau(ps) and that where tau(pl) >> tau(ps). In the former, a spanning gel emerges before the phase separation and the phase separation is driven largely by activation. In the latter, phase separation occurs first between polymers and nonbonding molecules and then the polymers turn into a gel, and therefore the driving mechanism is the same as in the usual liquid-liquid demixing processes. Using Molecular Dynamics simulations, we explore in this paper the intermediate dynamic regime where the two time scales are comparable. When the polymerization is done by means of the thermal condensation reaction, we observe the expected crossover, one limit behavior at early times and then the other at late times. When the polymerization is done by means of the radical addition reaction, the results suggest that the driving mechanism changes more than once.

Publication Title

International Journal of Modern Physics C

Volume

11

Issue

2

First Page

347

Last Page

358