A deep insight into the polystyrene chain in cyclohexane at theta temperature: molecular dynamics simulation and quantum chemical calculations.


Smart Polymers and Nanocomposites Research Group, School of Chemical Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, 16846-13114, Iran. [Email]


Molecular characteristics of an atactic polystyrene (aPS) chain with different lengths in a theta solvent, cyclohexane at 307.65 K, were studied via molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. The interaction energy of the aPS dilute solution models and Flory-Huggins (FH) interaction parameter were calculated to investigate the effect of the chain molecular weight on its compatibility with the solvent molecules. The simulation results illustrated that increasing the chain length increased the interactions between the chain and the solvent molecules. The chain dimensions via calculating the radius of gyration (Rg) and end-to-end distance, , were measured. Mean square displacement (MSD) and diffusivity coefficient of the chains were calculated to determine their dynamic behavior. The results exhibited that two factors of the chain movability and size were important for the diffusion in oligomeric state. Additionally, viscosity of the resultant dilute solutions was calculated via nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulation (NEMD). Moreover, the steric hindrance of the chains was determined by radial distribution function (RDF) analysis. The calculated characteristics of the chain and solution viscosity results showed a good agreement with experimental published works. Measurement of the potential field of cyclohexane-cyclohexane and aPS-cyclohexane pairs was also based on their potential field via quantum chemical calculations to determine the special orientation of the solvent molecules to each other and to the polymer segments, respectively. Graphical abstract (a) The equilibrated dilute solution model of polystyrene in cyclohexane at theta temperature (the red and yellow balls represent carbon and hydrogen atoms, respectively. The cyclohexane molecules are illustrated in line style in the box), (b) the electrostatic potential field around an optimized structure containing two cyclohexane molecules, and (c) around the sole cyclohexane molecule and polystyrene with two repeating units (carbon and hydrogen atoms are represented in green and yellow, respectively).


Dilute solution,MD simulation,Polystyrene,Quantum calculations,Theta solvent condition,