Jump to main content
Jump to site search
Access to RSC content Close the message box

Continue to access RSC content when you are not at your institution. Follow our step-by-step guide.

Two-stage athermal solidification of semiflexible polymers and fibers

Author affiliations


We study how solidification of model freely rotating polymers under athermal quasistatic compression varies with their bond angle θ0. All systems undergo two discrete, first-order-like transitions: entanglement at ϕ = ϕE(θ0) followed by jamming at ϕ = ϕJ(θ0) ≃ (4/3 ± 1/12)ϕE(θ0). For ϕ < ϕE(θ0), systems are in a “gas” phase wherein all chains remain free to translate and reorient. For ϕE(θ0) ≤ ϕϕJ(θ0), systems are in a liquid-like phase wherein chains are entangled. In this phase, chains' rigid-body-like motion is blocked, yet they can still locally relax via dihedral rotations, and hence energy and pressure remain extremely small. The ability of dihedral relaxation mechanisms to accommodate further compression becomes exhausted, and systems rigidify, at ϕJ(θ0). At and slightly above ϕJ, the bulk moduli increase linearly with the pressure P rather than jumping discontinuously, indicating these systems solidify via rigidity percolation. The character of the energy and pressure increases above ϕJ(θ0) can be characterized via chains' effective aspect ratio αeff. Large-αeff (small-θ0) systems' jamming is bending-dominated and is similar to that observed in systems composed of straight fibers. Small-αeff (large-θ0) systems' jamming is dominated by the degree to which individual chains' dihedrals can collapse into compact, tetrahedron-like structures. For intermediate θ0, chains remain in highly disordered globule-like configurations throughout the compression process; jamming occurs when entangled globules can no longer even locally relax away from one another.

Graphical abstract: Two-stage athermal solidification of semiflexible polymers and fibers

Back to tab navigation

Article information

26 Apr 2020
08 Jun 2020
First published
10 Jun 2020

Soft Matter, 2020, Advance Article
Article type

Two-stage athermal solidification of semiflexible polymers and fibers

J. D. Dietz and R. S. Hoy, Soft Matter, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0SM00754D

Social activity

Search articles by author