Segmental dynamics in entangled linear polymer melts
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1021/ma202759v
We present molecular dynamics (MD) and slip-springs model simulations of the chain segmental dynamics in entangled linear polymer melts. The time-dependent behavior of the segmental orientation autocorrelation functions and mean-square segmental displacements are analyzed for both flexible and semiflexible chains, with particular attention paid to the scaling relations among these dynamic quantities. Effective combination of the two simulation methods at different coarse-graining levels allows us to explore the chain dynamics for chain lengths ranging from Z ≈ 2 to 90 entanglements. For a given chain length of Z ≈ 15, the time scales accessed span for more than 10 decades, covering all of the interesting relaxation regimes. The obtained time dependence of the monomer mean square displacements, g1(t), is in good agreement with the tube theory predictions. Results on the first- and second-order segmental orientation autocorrelation functions, C1(t) and C2(t), demonstrate a clear power law relationship of C2(t) C1(t)m with m = 3, 2, and 1 in the initial, free Rouse, and entangled (constrained Rouse) regimes, respectively. The return-to-origin hypothesis, which leads to inverse proportionality between the segmental orientation autocorrelation functions and g1(t) in the entangled regime, is convincingly verified by the simulation result of C1(t) g1(t)−1 t–1/4 in the constrained Rouse regime, where for well-entangled chains both C1(t) and g1(t) are rather insensitive to the constraint release effects. However, the second-order correlation function, C2(t), shows much stronger sensitivity to the constraint release effects and experiences a protracted crossover from the free Rouse to entangled regime. This crossover region extends for at least one decade in time longer than that of C1(t). The predicted time scaling behavior of C2(t) t–1/4 is observed in slip-springs simulations only at chain length of 90 entanglements, whereas shorter chains show higher scaling exponents. The reported simulation work can be applied to understand the observations of the NMR experiments.