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Issue 6, 2019
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Numerical modelling of non-ionic microgels: an overview

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Abstract

Microgels are complex macromolecules. These colloid-sized polymer networks possess internal degrees of freedom and, depending on the polymer(s) they are made of, can acquire a responsiveness to variations of the environment (temperature, pH, salt concentration, etc.). Besides being valuable for many practical applications, microgels are also extremely important to tackle fundamental physics problems. As a result, these last years have seen a rapid development of protocols for the synthesis of microgels, and more and more research has been devoted to the investigation of their bulk properties. However, from a numerical standpoint the picture is more fragmented, as the inherently multi-scale nature of microgels, whose bulk behaviour crucially depends on the microscopic details, cannot be handled at a single level of coarse-graining. Here we present an overview of the methods and models that have been proposed to describe non-ionic microgels at different length-scales, from the atomistic to the single-particle level. We especially focus on monomer-resolved models, as these have the right level of details to capture the most important properties of microgels, responsiveness and softness. We suggest that these microscopic descriptions, if realistic enough, can be employed as starting points to develop the more coarse-grained representations required to investigate the behaviour of bulk suspensions.

Graphical abstract: Numerical modelling of non-ionic microgels: an overview

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Oct 2018, accepted on 26 Nov 2018 and first published on 13 Dec 2018


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM02089B
Soft Matter, 2019,15, 1108-1119
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Numerical modelling of non-ionic microgels: an overview

    L. Rovigatti, N. Gnan, L. Tavagnacco, A. J. Moreno and E. Zaccarelli, Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 1108
    DOI: 10.1039/C8SM02089B

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