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The effects of topological entanglement and chain architecture on the mechanical properties of polymers

Monday, June 24, 2019 - 11:30am - 12:30pm
Keller 3-180
Eleni Panagiotou (University of Tennessee)
In this talk we will see that topological entanglement and/or chain architecture alone can affect the mechanical properties of linear polymers. We use the Gauss linking integral as a measure of topological/geometrical complexity of linear chains and apply it to polymeric systems through Molecular Dynamics simulations. Our results show that the information captured by the Gauss linking integral is related to polymer entanglement effects on viscoelastic properties. We also examine the role of polymer architecture on bottlebrush polymers. We use Field Theoretic Simulations (FTS) to show that variation of side-chain grafting density, side-chain length, and backbone length can produce backbone stiffening in loosely grafted bottlebrushes sufficient to induce an isotropic-nematic phase transition. Our results contribute fundamental insights to the understanding of bottlebrush polymers that could lead to new classes of anisotropic soft materials.