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Confinement-Induced Stiffening Of Thin Elastomer Films: Linear And Nonlinear Mechanics Vs Local Dynamics

C. Batistakis, Maj Thijs Michels, A. Lyulin
Published 2014 · Chemistry

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Constant-pressure molecular-dynamics simulations have been carried out of a bead–rod model polymer confined between two attractive crystalline substrates. Three different substrate–substrate separations (i.e., film thicknesses) were used and two different polymer–substrate interaction strengths. The density profiles show a monomer layering close to the polymer–substrate interface. A higher density was found in this region compared to the middle bulklike layers of the films. The dependence of the film-averaged density on temperature and thickness was measured for all polymer films. Decreasing the film thickness leads to an increase of this density and of the film-averaged glass-transition temperature. Layer-resolved analysis of the segmental dynamics of the thickest films shows a gradient of the mobility upon approach of the polymer–substrate interface, while the middle-layer dynamics exhibits bulklike behavior. With decreasing film thickness, these gradients become overlapping. All polymer films were defo...
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