Entropic competition in polymeric systems under geometrical confinement
National Institute for Theoretical Physics - Marais Street, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa and Institute of Theoretical Physics/Department of Physics, Stellenbosch University - Matieland, 7602, South Africa
Received: 27 March 2015
Accepted: 13 June 2015
Using molecular-dynamics simulation, we investigate the effect of confinement on a system that comprises several stiff segmented polymer chains where each chain has similar segments, but length and stiffness of the segments vary among the chains, which makes the system inhomogeneous. The translational and orientational entropy loss due to the confinement plays a crucial role in organizing the chains which can be considered as an entropy-driven segregation mechanism to differentiate the components of the system. Due to the inhomogeneity, both weak- and strong-confinement regimes show the competition in the system and we see segregation of chains as the confining volume is decreased. In the case of strong spherical confinement, a chain at the periphery shows angular mobility higher than other chains, despite being more radially constrained.
PACS: 82.35.Lr – Physical properties of polymers / 82.35.Pq – Biopolymers, biopolymerization / 61.30.Vx – Polymer liquid crystals
© EPLA, 2015