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Dynamics of polyethylene melts studied by Monte Carlo simulations on a high coordination lattice

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Abstract

A detailed comparison is made between the experiment, prior simulations by other groups, and our simulation based on a newly designed dynamic Monte Carlo algorithm, on the dynamics of polyethylene (PE) melts. The new algorithm, namely, noncross random two-bead move has been developed on a high coordination lattice (the 2nnd lattice) for studying the dynamics of realistic polymers. The chain length (molecular weight) in our simulation ranges from C40 (562 Da) to C324 (4538 Da). The effects of finite chain length have been confirmed and significant non-Gaussian statistics evidently results in nonstandard static and dynamic properties of short PE chains. The diffusion coefficients scale with molecular weight (M) to the −1.7 power for short chains and −2.2 for longer chains, which coincides very well with experimental results. No pure Rouse scaling in diffusion has been observed. The transitional molecular weight to the entanglement regime is around 1500 Da. The detailed mean square displacements of middle bead (g1) are presented for several chain lengths. The reptation-like slowdown can be clearly observed only above M ∼ 2400 Da. The slope 0.25 predicted by the theory for the intermediate regime is missing; instead a slope close to 0.4 appears, indicating that additional relaxation mechanism exists in this transitional region. The relaxation times extracted by fitting the autocorrelation function of end-to-end vectors with reptation model scale with M to 2.5 for long chains, which seemingly conflicts with the scaling of diffusion. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 44: 2556–2571, 2006

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