Simulations of Morphology Evolution in Polymer Blends during Light Self-Trapping
2017-05-19T18:23:40Z (GMT) by
Simulations are presented for binary phase morphologies prepared via coupling the self-trapping properties of light with photopolymerization induced phase separation in blends of reactive monomer and inert linear chain polymer. The morphology forming process is simulated based on a spatially varying photopolymerization rate, dictated by self-trapped light, coupled with the Cahn–Hilliard equation that incorporates the free energy of polymer mixing, degree of polymerization, and polymer mobility. Binary phase morphologies form with a structure that spatially correlates to the profile of the self-trapped beam. Attaining this spatial correlation emerges through a balance between the competitive processes entailed in photopolymerization-induced decreases in diffusion mobility and the drive for the blend components to phase separate. The simulations demonstrate the ability for a self-trapped optical beam to direct binary phase morphology along its propagation path. Such studies are important for controlling the structure of polymer blends, whereby physical properties and critical physical and chemical phenomena may be enhanced.