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Nucleation in binary polymer blends: A self-consistent field study

Wood, Stephen M. and Wang, Zhen-Gang (2002) Nucleation in binary polymer blends: A self-consistent field study. Journal of Chemical Physics, 116 (5). pp. 2289-2300. ISSN 0021-9606.

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We study the structure and thermodynamics of the critical nuclei in metastable binary polymer blends using the self-consistent field method. At the mean-field level, our results are valid throughout the entire metastable region and provide a smooth crossover from the classical capillary-theory predictions near the coexistence curve to the density functional predictions of Cahn and Hilliard (properly transcribed into expressions involving the parameters of the binary polymer blends) near the spinodal. An estimate of the free energy barrier provides a quantitative criterion (the Ginzburg criterion) for the validity of the (mean-field) self-consistent approach. The region where mean-field theory is valid and where there can be a measurable nucleation rate is shown to be poorly described by the existing limiting theories; our predictions are therefore most relevant in this region. We discuss our results in connection with recent experimental observations by Balsara and co-workers.

Item Type:Article
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Wang, Zhen-Gang0000-0002-3361-6114
Additional Information:©2002 American Institute of Physics. (Received 30 July 2001; accepted 31 October 2001) This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (DMR-9970589) and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation (TC-96-063). The authors thank Professor Nitash Balsara for sending us a preprint of their work Ref. 8 and for helpful discussions.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Camille and Henry Dreyfus FoundationTC-96-063
Subject Keywords:polymer blends; free energy; SCF calculations; thermodynamic properties; metastable states; density functional theory; nucleation
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:WOOjcp02
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8775
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:15 Sep 2007
Last Modified:02 Oct 2019 23:54

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