Polymer Conformations, Entanglements and Dynamics in Ionic Nanocomposites: A Molecular Dynamics Study

A Moghimikheirabadi and C Mugemana and M Kroger and AV Karatrantos, POLYMERS, 12, 2591 (2020).

DOI: 10.3390/polym12112591

We investigate nanoparticle (NP) dispersion, polymer conformations, entanglements and dynamics in ionic nanocomposites. To this end, we study nanocomposite systems with various spherical NP loadings, three different molecular weights, two different Bjerrum lengths, and two types of charge-sequenced polymers by means of molecular dynamics simulations. NP dispersion can be achieved in either oligomeric or entangled polymeric matrices due to the presence of electrostatic interactions. We show that the overall conformations of ionic oligomer chains, as characterized by their radii of gyration, are affected by the presence and the amount of charged NPs, while the dimensions of charged entangled polymers remain unperturbed. Both the dynamical behavior of polymers and NPs, and the lifetime and amount of temporary crosslinks, are found to depend on the ratio between the Bjerrum length and characteristic distance between charged monomers. Polymer-polymer entanglements start to decrease beyond a certain NP loading. The dynamics of ionic NPs and polymers is very different compared with their non-ionic counterparts. Specifically, ionic NP dynamics is getting enhanced in entangled matrices and also accelerates with the increase of NP loading.

Return to Publications page