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Mesoscale modelling of penetrant diffusion in computer-generated polyethylene-spherulite-like structures
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Fibre and Polymer Technology.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Fibre and Polymer Technology.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Fibre and Polymer Technology.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Fibre and Polymer Technology.
2006 (English)In: Polymer, ISSN 0032-3861, Vol. 47, 5588-5595 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Molecular dynamics simulations have been used to study diffusion of n-hexane in wholly amorphous poly(ethylene-stat-octene)s with comonomer contents ranging from 0 to 11.5 mol%. The branches in the polymer increased the specific volume by affecting the packing of the chains in the rubbery state in accordance with experimental data. The diffusion of n-hexane at penetrant concentrations between 0.5 and 9.1 wt% was simulated within time-scales between 0.1 and 0.2 μs. The penetrant diffusivity unexpectedly decreased with increasing comonomer content. The penetrant molecule motion statistics showed that systems with high comonomer content showed a greater tendency for short distance motion (over a sampling period of 3 ps) whereas the systems with lower comonomer content showed penetrant motion over longer distances. It seems that the branches retarded local chain mobility of the polymer thereby trapping the penetrant molecules. All systems studied showed a minimum in penetrant diffusivity at ca. 1 wt% n-hexane and a marked increase in diffusivity at higher penetrant concentrations. The volumetric data for the different polymer–penetrant systems were consonant with additional volumes of the different components. Comparison between simulated diffusivities (for a wholly amorphous polymer) and experimentally obtained diffusivity data for semicrystalline polymers showed that constraining effect of the crystals were substantial for the highly crystalline systems and that it gradually decreased with decreasing crystallinity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 47, 5588-5595 p.
Keyword [en]
Poly(ethylene-stat-octene), n-Hexane, Molecular dynamics simulation
National Category
Polymer Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-6450DOI: 10.1016/j.polymer.2005.05.162ISI: 000239644000044Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-33745898521OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-6450DiVA: diva2:11167
Note
QC 20100909Available from: 2006-11-29 Created: 2006-11-29 Last updated: 2010-09-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Small Molecule Diffusion in Spherulitic Polyethylene: Experimental Results and Simulations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Small Molecule Diffusion in Spherulitic Polyethylene: Experimental Results and Simulations
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The diffusion of small-molecule penetrants in polyethylene is hindered by impenetrable crystals and by the segmental constraints imposed by the crystals on the penetrable phase. Liquid and vapour n-hexane sorption/desorption measurements were performed on metallocene catalyzed homogenous poly(ethylene-co-octene)s. It was shown that the fractional free volume of the polymer penetrable component increased with increasing amount of penetrable polymer. It also increased with the relative proportion of liquid-like component in the penetrable polymer fraction. The detour effect was found to increase with decreasing crystallinity. The experimental study of the morphology of the polymers showed that the geometrical impedance factor followed the same trend with increasing crystallinity as the data obtained from n-hexane desorption. The changes in phase composition and character upon n-hexane sorption were monitored with Raman spectroscopy, WAXS and NMR spectroscopy. Partial dissolution of the orthorhombic and the interfacial component was observed upon nhexane sorption. Changes in the character of the components were furthermore analyzed: an increase of the density in the crystalline component and a decrease of the density in the amorphous component were observed in the n-hexane-sorbed-samples.

Molecular dynamics simulations were used for studying diffusion of n-hexane in fully amorphous poly(ethylene-co-octene)s. The branches in poly(ethylene-co-octene) decreased the density by affecting the packing of the chains in the rubbery state in accordance with experimental data. Diffusion of n-hexane at low penetrant concentration showed unexpectedly that the penetrant diffusivity decreased with increasing degree of branching.

Spherulitic growth was mimicked with an algorithm able to generate structures comparable to those observed in polyethylene. The diffusion in the simulated structure was assessed with Monte Carlo simulations of random walks and the geometrical impedance factor of the spherulitic structures was calculated and compared with analytical values according to Fricke’s theory. The linear relationship between geometrical impedance factor and crystallinity in Fricke’s theory was confirmed. Fricke’s theory, however, underestimated the crystal blocking effect. By modelling systems having a distribution of crystal width-to-thickness ratio it was proven that wide crystals had a more pronounced effect on the geometrical impedance factor than is indicated by their number fraction weight.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2006. 62 p.
Series
Trita-FPT-Report, ISSN 1652-2443 ; 2006:41
Keyword
diffusion, polyethylene, poly(ethylene-co-octene), free volume, morphology, intermediate phase, spherulite, Monte Carlo simulation
National Category
Polymer Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4196 (URN)91-7178-504-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-12-08, Sal E2, KTH, Llindstedtsvägen 3, Stockholm, 10:40
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100909Available from: 2006-11-29 Created: 2006-11-29 Last updated: 2010-09-09Bibliographically approved

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