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J Chem Phys. 2011 Nov 21;135(19):194902. doi: 10.1063/1.3662130.

Interchain coupled chain dynamics of poly(ethylene oxide) in blends with poly(methyl methacrylate): coupling model analysis.

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CNR-IPCF, Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Pisa, Largo Bruno Pontecorvo 3, I-56127 Pisa, Italy.


Quasielastic neutron scattering and molecular dynamics simulation data from poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO)/poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) blends found that for short times the self-dynamics of PEO chain follows the Rouse model, but at longer times past t(c) = 1-2 ns it becomes slower and departs from the Rouse model in dependences on time, momentum transfer, and temperature. To explain the anomalies, others had proposed the random Rouse model (RRM) in which each monomer has different mobility taken from a broad log-normal distribution. Despite the success of the RRM, Diddens et al. [Eur. Phys. Lett. 95, 56003 (2011)] extracted the distribution of friction coefficients from the MD simulations of a PEO/PMMA blend and found that the distribution is much narrower than expected from the RRM. We propose a simpler alternative explanation of the data by utilizing alone the observed crossover of PEO chain dynamics at t(c). The present problem is just a special case of a general property of relaxation in interacting systems, which is the crossover from independent relaxation to coupled many-body relaxation at some t(c) determined by the interaction potential and intermolecular coupling/constraints. The generality is brought out vividly by pointing out that the crossover also had been observed by neutron scattering from entangled chains relaxation in monodisperse homopolymers, and from the segmental ╬▒-relaxation of PEO in blends with PMMA. The properties of all the relaxation processes in connection with the crossover are similar, despite the length scales of the relaxation in these systems are widely different.

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