Stability of amphiphilic Janus dimers in shear flow: a molecular dynamics study†
Amphiphilic Janus particles in a flow are thought to experience a torque due to the asymmetry in slip at their surfaces. This effect has the potential to destabilise self-assembled Janus structures in flows due to the forces and torques applied to individual Janus nanoparticles. In this work, we investigate the stability of amphiphilic Janus dimers and homogeneous hydrophobic dimers in shear flow using molecular dynamics, and study possible break-up mechanisms. In particular, we consider the influence of the activation enthalpy and entropy on the thermal break-up rate of these dimers. Janus dimers are less stable than hydrophobic dimers, and increasing the applied shear rate has a greater effect on break-up for Janus dimers. Two mechanisms leading to increased break-up in shear flow are studied, namely the rotational speed of the dimers and the orientation of individual spheres in the dimers, and we propose a descriptive equation for calculation of the break-up rate. Overall, the results indicate that the stability of dimers in shear flow depends on the slip length at the spheres' surfaces, and that the slip length difference on Janus dimers could contribute to destabilisation.