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Elasticity dominated surface segregation of small molecules in polymer mixtures.

Krawczyk, J. and Croce, S. and McLeish, T.C.B. and Chakrabarti, B. (2016) 'Elasticity dominated surface segregation of small molecules in polymer mixtures.', Physical review letters., 116 (20). p. 208301.


We study the phenomenon of migration of the small molecular weight component of a binary polymer mixture to the free surface using mean field and self-consistent field theories. By proposing a free energy functional that incorporates polymer-matrix elasticity explicitly, we compute the migrant volume fraction and show that it decreases significantly as the sample rigidity is increased. A wetting transition, observed for high values of the miscibility parameter can be prevented by increasing the matrix rigidity. Estimated values of the bulk modulus suggest that the effect should be observable experimentally for rubberlike materials. This provides a simple way of controlling surface migration in polymer mixtures and can play an important role in industrial formulations, where surface migration often leads to decreased product functionality.

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Publisher statement:Reprinted with permission from the American Physical Society: Physical Review Letters 116, 208301 © 2016 by the American Physical Society. Readers may view, browse, and/or download material for temporary copying purposes only, provided these uses are for noncommercial personal purposes. Except as provided by law, this material may not be further reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, adapted, performed, displayed, published, or sold in whole or part, without prior written permission from the American Physical Society.
Date accepted:27 April 2016
Date deposited:19 May 2016
Date of first online publication:18 May 2016
Date first made open access:19 May 2016

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