Computational Polymer Physics
Work in this group focuses on the use of analytic theory and computer simulations to elucidate molecular origins of the behavior of complex polymer fluids. The researchers focus primarily on self-assembling systems of block copolymers, and emphasize the study of highly simplified models to study generic aspects of behavior, rather than on accurate atomistic simulations of specific chemical systems. Work completed over the last several years used extensive simulations to demonstrate that phase boundaries and a variety of physical properties of block copolymer melts exhibit a universal dependence on a small set of dimensionless parameters, and provided a characterization of these universal functions in a form suitable for analysis of experimental data. Ongoing computational work is increasingly focused on the study of the study of dynamical and viscoelastic phenomena in block copolymer melts near the order disorder transition, equilibrium behavior and slow dynamical processes in systems in which either polymeric or small molecule surfactants form micelles, the study of liquid-liquid interfaces and the kinetics of surfactant adsorption to interfaces, and initial work on the bicontinuous microemulsion phase of systems containing two immiscible liquids and a surfactant.
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