Wetting characteristics of polymer adhesives with different chain bending stiffness

WH Sha and JM Fu and FL Guo, HIGH PERFORMANCE POLYMERS, 33, 1220-1229 (2021).

DOI: 10.1177/09540083211035016

Polymer adhesives are widely used in daily applications and in industry owing to their flexibility and overall non-toxicity, particularly in interfacial adhesion. The spreading of polymer adhesives on adherend is one of the essential considerations for the interfacial adhesion of polymer adhesives, which is strongly related to their wetting behaviors. While relationships between polymer microstructure and adhesion have been investigated in previous studies, it remains challenging to unveil the effect of polymer microstructure on wettability. To address this issue, here we utilize coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CGMD) simulations to systematically elucidate how the wettability of a polymer adhesive droplet on a surface depends on bending stiffness. The wetting dynamics and the contact angle are studied to show the evolution of morphology of droplets during the wetting process. The results indicate the wettability is weakened by the increase of bending stiffness of polymer chain. Detailed thermodynamic property analysis is further conducted, revealing that the adhesion between the polymer droplet and substrate deteriorates due to the decline of wettability. Interestingly, we observe such deterioration becomes more significant by both increasing the temperature and decreasing the bending stiffness. Our study sheds light on the dependence of chain bending stiffness and temperature on the wetting behavior of polymer adhesive droplets, and offers insights, which, upon experimental validation can then be used for the design of adhesives or hydrogels.

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