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# Complex Effects of the External Electric Fields on the Phase Separation of Polymer Blends

journal contribution

posted on 2024-01-05, 20:12 authored by Qian Zhang, Xuehao HeThe mechanism of phase separation of polymer blends induced
by
the external electric field is a long-standing unsolved problem. In
this work, we have applied the coarse-grained polarizable model developed
earlier to simulate the phase separation of polymer blends under a
constant external electric field between two nonselective walls which
corresponds to the virtual electrode plates with constant charges.
It is found that the effect of the electric field on the phase separation
depends not only on the second derivative of the permittivity with
respect to the component concentration but also on the permittivity,
the dielectric contrast, and the component concentration of the blend
system. A mean-field theory with an external electric field is successfully
applied to explain the origin of the complex effects and shows a quantitative
agreement with the simulation. The reasons for the discrepancy between
previous theoretical predictions and experimental observations are
discussed. Our theoretical result is consistent with that of Orzechowski
et al. at the critical concentration. Notably, our theory can give
a complete prediction for the phase diagram under an electric field.
This work is helpful to comprehensively understand the complex effects
of electric fields on the phase separation of multicomponent polymer
systems.

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virtual electrode platestwo nonselective wallsstanding unsolved problemorzechowski et almulticomponent polymer systemsprevious theoretical predictionspolymer blends inducedexternal electric fieldsphase separation dependsexternal electric fieldpolymer blendselectric fieldsphase separationelectric fieldtheoretical resultphase diagramsecond derivativequantitative agreementexperimental observationsdielectric contrastcritical concentrationconstant chargescomprehensively understandcomponent concentrationcomplex effectscomplete predictionblend system

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