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Hierarchical modelling of polystyrene melts: from soft blobs to atomistic resolution

Abstract

We demonstrate that hierarchical backmapping strategies incorporating generic blob-based models can equilibrate melts of high-molecular-weight polymers, described with chemically specific, atomistic, models. The central idea is first to represent polymers by chains of large soft blobs (spheres) and efficiently equilibrate the melt on large scales. Then, the degrees of freedom of more detailed models are reinserted step by step. The procedure terminates when the atomistic description is reached. Reinsertions are feasible computationally because the fine-grained melt must be re-equilibrated only locally. We consider polystyrene (PS) which is sufficiently complex to serve method development because of stereochemistry and bulky side groups. Our backmapping strategy bridges mesoscopic and atomistic scales by incorporating a blob-based, a moderately coarse-grained (CG), and a united-atom model of PS. We demonstrate that the generic blobbased model can be parameterized to reproduce the mesoscale properties of a specific polymer – here PS. The moderately CG model captures stereochemistry. To perform backmapping we improve and adjust several fine-graining techniques. We prove equilibration of backmapped PS melts by comparing their structural and conformational properties with reference data from smaller systems, equilibrated with less efficient methods.

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Sep 2018, accepted on 27 Nov 2018 and first published on 28 Nov 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM01830H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Hierarchical modelling of polystyrene melts: from soft blobs to atomistic resolution

    G. Zhang, A. Chazirakis, V. Harmandaris, T. Stuehn, K. Daoulas and K. Kremer, Soft Matter, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8SM01830H

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