Vapor sorption in binary polymer brushes: The effect of the polymer- polymer interface

LA Smook and GC Ritsema van Eck and S de Beer, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 155, 054904 (2021).

DOI: 10.1063/5.0057065

Polymer brushes attract vapors that are good solvents for polymers. This is useful in sensing and other technologies that rely on concentrating vapors for optimal performance. It was recently shown that vapor sorption can be enhanced further by incorporating two incompatible types of polymers A and B in the brushes: additional vapor adsorbs at the high-energy polymer-polymer interface in these binary brushes. In this article, we present a model that describes this enhanced sorption in binary brushes of immiscible A-B polymers. To do so, we set up a free- energy model to predict the interfacial area between the different polymer phases in binary brushes. This description is combined with Gibbs adsorption isotherms to determine the adsorption at these interfaces. We validate our model with coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations. Moreover, based on our results, we propose design parameters (A-B chain fraction, grafting density, vapor, and A-B interaction strength) for optimal vapor absorption in coatings composed of binary brushes. Published under an exclusive license by AIP Publishing.

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