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Molecular simulations of the solubility of gases in polyethylene below its melting temperature

Authors
Journal
Polymer
0032-3861
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
51
Issue
21
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.polymer.2010.08.020
Keywords
  • Polymer
  • Physical
  • Chemistry

Abstract

Abstract We have employed Monte Carlo simulations in the osmotic ensemble to study the solubility of three different gases (N2, CH4, CO2) in polyethylene. The simulations are performed at temperatures below the polymer melting point. Although under such conditions, polyethylene is in a semicrystalline state, we have used simulation boxes containing only a purely amorphous material. We show that under such circumstances, computed solubilities are 4–5 times larger than experimental data. We therefore introduce an original use of the osmotic ensemble to implicitly account for the effects of the complex morphology of semicrystalline materials on gas solubility. We have made the assumption that i) the network formed by polymer chains trapped between different crystallites and ii) the changes in local density from crystalline regions to purely amorphous regions, may be both represented by an ad-hoc constraint exerted on the amorphous phase. A single constraint value emerges, independent of the gas nature, characteristic of the crystalline degree of the polymer. It is concluded that the role of this constraint is mostly to reproduce the effective density of the permeable phase of the real material, indirectly giving insights into the morphology of a semicrystalline polymer.

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