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Volume 128, 2005
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Molecular dynamics modeling of polymer crystallization; from simple polymers to helical ones

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Crystallization of helical polymers is a very big challenge for molecular simulation. It involves many significant issues, such as folding in biomolecules and molecular recognition during crystal growth. Though direct molecular simulations of the process still involve very difficult problems, we here report our recent efforts toward better understanding of the crystallization in helical polymers. We begin with a brief review of our former studies on simple polyethylene-like polymers, and then we introduce several helical polymer models which are systematically made more complicated. We have already reported that a simple polyethylene-like polymer crystallizes very fast into chain folded lamellae from the melt. A slight modification of this simple polymer model by introducing proper bond angle and dihedral angle potentials gives one of the present models of the helical polymer. This helical polymer model is devised to be relatively rigid but mobile, to show easy helix-reversals, and to have a definite preference for gauche bonds. We find that this highly mobile helical polymer shows quick chain folded crystallization and forms approximate 4/1 helical structure. The intra- and the intermolecular order grow quite simultaneously suggesting highly cooperative nature of the phenomena. Further elaboration of the helical model, giving pendant side groups and higher energy barrier to the helix reversals, leads us to a realistic united atom model of iPP. The conventional and the multi-canonical Monte Carlo simulations are applied to find probable modes of chain folding and the ground state conformations. Though a very short chain readily forms a regular 3/1 helix of alternating trans and gauche bonds, much longer chains of 30- and 50-propylene units are not found to have energetic ground states in the regularly folded conformations.

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Apr 2004, accepted on 14 May 2004 and first published on 13 Aug 2004

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B406069E
Citation: Faraday Discuss., 2005,128, 75-86

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    Molecular dynamics modeling of polymer crystallization; from simple polymers to helical ones

    T. Yamamoto, N. Orimi, N. Urakami and K. Sawada, Faraday Discuss., 2005, 128, 75
    DOI: 10.1039/B406069E

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