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Blocked crystallization in capped ultrathin polymer films studied by molecular simulations

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The crystallization of capped ultrathin polymer films is closely dependent on film thickness and interfacial interaction. Using dynamic Monte Carlo simulations, the crystallization behaviors of polymer films confined between two substrates were investigated. The crystallization rate of confined polymers is reduced with high interfacial interactions. Above a critical strength of interfacial interaction, polymer crystallization in the thin film is inhibited within the simulation time scales. An increase in film thickness leads to a rise in critical interfacial interaction. In thicker films, the chains have more space to change conformation to form crystal stems. In addition, there are fewer absorbed segments in confined chains for the thicker films, and thus the chains have stronger ability to adjust their conformation. Therefore an increase in film thickness can cause a reduction in the entropic barrier required for the formation of crystals and thus an increase in the critical interfacial interaction. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2019

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