Effects of generation number, spacer length and temperature on the structure and intramolecular dynamics of siloxane dendrimer melts: molecular dynamics simulations†
The structure and properties of polysiloxane dendrimer melts are studied by extensive atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. Two homologous series differing in the spacer length are considered. In the first series the dendrimer spacers are the shortest ones, comprising only one oxygen atom, while in the second series the spacers consist of two oxygen atoms with the silicon atom in between. Melts of the dendrimers from the 3rd up to the 6th generation number are modelled in a wide temperature range from 273 to 600 K. A comparative study of the macroscopic melt characteristics such as the melt density and thermal expansion coefficients is performed for the two series. Analysis of the dendrimer structure in melts and in the isolated state shows that intermolecular interactions and interpenetration of dendrimer molecules in melts hardly affect the dendrimer interior organization. However, the presence of neighboring molecules significantly slows down their intramolecular dynamics in melts in comparison with that of isolated dendrimers. An increasing generation number causes an increase of the radius of the dendrimer interior region unavailable for neighboring molecules, which starts to exceed the length of the peripheral interpenetration layer for high-generation dendrimers; this fact could lead to different mechanisms of melt dynamics for lower and higher generation dendrimers.