Phase behavior of ABC cyclic terpolymer melts: a simulation study
The phase behavior of ABC cyclic terpolymer melts is investigated using a simulated annealing technique. A ternary phase diagram is constructed by tuning the volume fractions of the three blocks (fA, fB, and fC) in the case of symmetric interactions. 11 phases are predicted, including lamellae with spheres at the interfaces, lamellae with spheres inside a domain, lamellae with spheres inside domains, cylinders in perforated lamellae, [6.6.6] tiling patterns, lamella + cylinder, hierarchical double-gyroid, columnar piled disk, patched spheres, cylinders with spheres at the interfaces and double gyroid with spheres at the interfaces. In these structures, the end segments of the three blocks tend to distribute uniformly on the A/B, B/C, or A/C interfaces, which may result in superior mechanical properties of the structures in cyclic terpolymer systems than those of the same structures formed in star or linear terpolymer systems. The physical reason for the similarities and differences between the phases formed in ABC cyclic and star terpolymer systems is investigated. Our simulation results are compared with related experimental observations and theoretical calculations.