Enhanced vapor sorption in block and random copolymer brushes

I Glisic and GCR van Eck and LA Smook and S de Beer, SOFT MATTER, 18, 8398-8405 (2022).

DOI: 10.1039/d2sm00868h

Polymer brushes in gaseous environments absorb and adsorb vapors of favorable solvents, which makes them potentially relevant for sensing applications and separation technologies. Though significant amounts of vapor are sorbed in homopolymer brushes at high vapor pressures, at low vapor pressures sorption remains limited. In this work, we vary the structure of two-component polymer brushes and investigate the enhancement in vapor sorption at different relative vapor pressures compared to homopolymer brushes. We perform molecular dynamics simulations on two-component block and random copolymer brushes and investigate the influence of monomer miscibility and formation of high- energy interfaces between immiscible monomers on vapor sorption. Additionally, we present absorption isotherms of pure homopolymer, mixed binary brush and 2-block, 4-block, and random copolymer brushes. Based on these isotherms, we finally show that random copolymer brushes absorb more vapor than any other architecture investigated thus far. Random brushes display enhanced sorption at both high and low vapor pressures, with the largest enhancement in sorption at low vapor pressures.

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