Publié le 07/07/2023 par Meyer Hendrik
In a recent collaboration between TotalEnergies and the CNRS, researchers at ICS have grown unprecedentedly large polyethylene single crystals in simulations (see figure), which are the first multi-layered crystals of their kind. Their results reveal the multi-layered structure of polymer crystals in unprecedented detail. In addition, they demonstrate an ability to control the structure and layer thickness by introducing a few branches along the chains. This is especially important for industrial applications, since the small-scale molecular structure ultimately decides the large-scale mechanical properties, such as fracture toughness or impact resistance. Tuning this process could lead to the design and manufacture of new high-performance polymers. Molecular simulations have advanced rapidly over the past 20 years, from being able to simulate a few thousand particles to several million. Perhaps in another 20 years, capturing screw dislocations or the twisting arms of spherulites will be possible in molecular simulations.
The results are published in ACS MacroLetters
They are highlighted in a press release (en francais)
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Image © William S. Fall