Volume 77, Number 5, March 2007
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties|
|Published online||23 February 2007|
Why polymer chains in a melt are not random walks
Institut Charles Sadron - 6 Rue Boussingault, 67083 Strasbourg Cedex, France
2 Department of Physics, University of Florida - Gainesville FL 32611, USA
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 11 January 2007
A cornerstone of modern polymer physics is the “Flory ideality hypothesis” which states that a chain in a polymer melt adopts “ideal” random-walklike conformations. Here we revisit theoretically and numerically this pivotal assumption and demonstrate that there are noticeable deviations from ideality. The deviations come from the interplay of chain connectivity and the incompressibility of the melt, leading to an effective repulsion between chain segments of all sizes s. The amplitude of this repulsion increases with decreasing s where chain segments become more and more swollen. We illustrate this swelling by an analysis of the form factor , i.e. the scattered intensity at wave vector q resulting from intramolecular interferences of a chain. A “Kratky plot” of q does not exhibit the plateau for intermediate wave vectors characteristic of ideal chains. One rather finds a conspicuous depression of the plateau, , which increases with q and only depends on the monomer density ρ .
PACS: 61.25.Hq – Macromolecular and polymer solutions; polymer melts; swelling / 64.60.Ak – Renormalization-group, fractal, and percolation studies of phase transitions / 05.10.Ln – Monte Carlo methods
© Europhysics Letters Association, 2007
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