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Grafting-Induced Structural Ordering of Lactide Chains

  • glova, artyom d.
  • melnikova, sofya d.
  • mercurieva, anna a.
  • larin, sergey v.
  • lyulin, sergey v.
Publication Date
Dec 11, 2019
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The structure of a grafted layer of lactide chains in the &ldquo / dry brush&rdquo / regime immersed in a melt of chemically similar polymer was examined while varying graft lengths. To this end, microsecond atomistic molecular dynamics simulations were performed. Almost no influence of graft length on the fraction of the grafted chains backfolded to the grafting surface was found. However, a structural ordering was unexpectedly observed in the system when the length of the grafted lactide chains was close to approximately 10 Kuhn segments. This ordering of the grafts is characterized by the formation of helical fragments whose structure is in good agreement with the experimental data for the &alpha / crystal of the lactide chains. Both the backfolding and the structural ordering may be viewed as the initial stage of the crystallization of the layer of grafted lactide chains. In contrast to the known behavior for conventional polymer brushes in the &ldquo / dry brush&rdquo / regime, the structure of the grafted lactide chains can be either amorphous or ordered, depending on the graft length N and the grafting density &sigma / when their product N&sigma / is fixed.

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