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Issue 23, 2017
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Particles with selective wetting affect spinodal decomposition microstructures

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Abstract

We have used mesoscale simulations to study the effect of immobile particles on microstructure formation during spinodal decomposition in ternary mixtures such as polymer blends. Specifically, we have explored a regime of interparticle spacings (which are a few times the characteristic spinodal length scale) in which we might expect interesting new effects arising from interactions among wetting, spinodal decomposition and coarsening. In this paper, we report three new effects for systems in which the particle phase has a strong preference for being wetted by one of the components (say, A). In the presence of particles, microstructures are not bicontinuous in a symmetric mixture. An asymmetric mixture, on the other hand, first forms a non-bicontinuous microstructure which then evolves into a bicontinuous one at intermediate times. Moreover, while wetting of the particle phase by the preferred component (A) creates alternating A-rich and B-rich layers around the particles, curvature-driven coarsening leads to shrinking and disappearance of the first A-rich layer, leaving a layer of the non-preferred component in contact with the particle. At late simulation times, domains of the matrix components coarsen following the Lifshitz–Slyozov–Wagner law, R1(t) ∼ t1/3.

Graphical abstract: Particles with selective wetting affect spinodal decomposition microstructures

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Publication details

The article was received on 21 Mar 2017, accepted on 24 May 2017 and first published on 26 May 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CP01816A
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017,19, 15424-15432

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    Particles with selective wetting affect spinodal decomposition microstructures

    S. Ghosh, A. Mukherjee, T. A. Abinandanan and S. Bose, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, 19, 15424
    DOI: 10.1039/C7CP01816A

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