Polymer Science Faculty Research


Structural properties of atactic polystyrene adsorbed onto solid surfaces

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2011


In the present work, we are studying the local conformation of chains in a thin film of polystyrene adsorbed on a solid substrate by using atomistically detailed simulations. The simulations are carried out by using the readily available and massively parallel molecular dynamics code known as LAMMPS. In particular, a special emphasis is given to the density and orientation of side chains (which consist of phenyl groups and methylene units) at solid/polymer and polymer/vacuum interfaces. Three types of substrates were used in our study: α-quartz, graphite, and amorphous silica. Our investigation was restricted to atactic polystyrene. Our results show that the density and structural properties of side chains depend on the type of surface. An excess of phenyl rings is observed near the α-quartz substrate while the film adsorbed on graphite is depleted in C6H5. Moreover, the orientation of the rings and methylene units on the substrate/film interface show a strong dependence on the type of the substrate, while the rings at the film/vacuum interface show a marked tendency to point outward, away from the film. The results we obtained are in a large part in good agreement with previous experimental and simulation results.



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