We computationally investigate the conformational behavior, “bridging” chain, between different the phase-separated domains vs “looping” chain on the same domain, for two chain architectures of ABA triblock copolymers, one with a linear architecture (L-TBC) and the other with comb architecture (C-TBC) at various segregation regimes using dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) simulations. The power-law relation between the bridge fraction (Φ) and the interaction parameter (χ) for C-TBC is found to be Φ ∼ χ−1.6 in the vicinity of the order-disorder transition (χODT), indicating a drastic conversion from the bridge to the loop conformation. When χ further increases, the bridge-loop conversions slow down to have the power law, Φ ∼ χ−0.18, approaching the theoretical power law Φ ∼ χ−1/9 predicted in the strong segregation limit. The conformational assessment conducted in the present study can provide a strategy of designing optimal material and processing conditions for triblock copolymer either with linear or comb architecture to be used for thermoplastic elastomer or molecular nanocomposites.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea via grant number 2020R1A4A2002903, 2020R1F1A1065951 and by the Creative Materials Discovery Program funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT via grant number NRF-2018M3D1A1058536.
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- bridge conformation
- comb polymer
- loop conformation
- triblock copolymer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics