• V. Sorichetti, A. Ninarello, J.M. Ruiz Franco, V. Hugouvieux, E. Zaccarelli, C. Micheletti, W. Kob and L. Rovigatti
    Structure and elasticity of model disordered, polydisperse and defect-free polymer networks
    J. Chem. Phys, 2023, 150 074905
    Link to online article Cover article

  • Abstract
    The elasticity of disordered and polydisperse polymer networks is a fundamental problem of soft matter physics that is still open. Here, we self-assemble polymer networks \textit{via} simulations of a mixture of bivalent and tri- or tetravalent patchy particles, which result in an exponential strand length distribution analogous to that of experimental randomly crosslinked systems. After assembly, the network connectivity and topology are frozen and the resulting system is characterized. We find that the fractal structure of the network depends on the number density at which the assembly has been carried out, but that systems with the same mean valence and same assembly density have the same structural properties. Moreover, we compute the long-time limit of the mean-squared displacement, also known as the (squared) localization length, of the crosslinks and of the middle monomers of the strands, showing that the dynamics of long strands is well described by the tube model. Finally, we find a relation connecting these two localization lengths at high density, and connect the crosslink localization length to the shear modulus of the system.