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J Chem Phys. 2005 Mar 1;122(9):094902.

Lattice-Boltzmann simulations of the dynamics of polymer solutions in periodic and confined geometries.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.


A numerical method to simulate the dynamics of polymer solutions in confined geometries has been implemented and tested. The method combines a fluctuating lattice-Boltzmann model of the solvent [Ladd, Phys. Rev. Lett. 70, 1339 (1993)] with a point-particle model of the polymer chains. A friction term couples the monomers to the fluid [Ahlrichs and Dunweg, J. Chem. Phys. 111, 8225 (1999)], providing both the hydrodynamic interactions between the monomers and the correlated random forces. The coupled equations for particles and fluid are solved on an inertial time scale, which proves to be surprisingly simple and efficient, avoiding the costly linear algebra associated with Brownian dynamics. Complex confined geometries can be represented by a straightforward mapping of the boundary surfaces onto a regular three-dimensional grid. The hydrodynamic interactions between monomers are shown to compare well with solutions of the Stokes equations down to distances of the order of the grid spacing. Numerical results are presented for the radius of gyration, end-to-end distance, and diffusion coefficient of an isolated polymer chain, ranging from 16 to 1024 monomers in length. The simulations are in excellent agreement with renormalization group calculations for an excluded volume chain. We show that hydrodynamic interactions in large polymers can be systematically coarse-grained to substantially reduce the computational cost of the simulation. Finally, we examine the effects of confinement and flow on the polymer distribution and diffusion constant in a narrow channel. Our results support the qualitative conclusions of recent Brownian dynamics simulations of confined polymers [Jendrejack et al., J. Chem. Phys. 119, 1165 (2003) and Jendrejack et al., J. Chem. Phys. 120, 2513 (2004)].

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