Force spectroscopy of self-associating homopolymers

Charles E Sing, Alfredo Alexander-Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper presents a theoretical and simulation investigation into the force-extension behavior of self-associating homopolymers. In particular, we show how long-lasting associations induce a transition in the stretching response of a single polymer from a freely jointed chain behavior (fast kinetics) to a highly dissipative unfolding pathway (slow kinetics). We identify the "shortest chain" through the associating network as the critical coordinate, and use a master equation approach to develop theory that describes the force-extension behavior of any chain. We elaborate on the properties of this theory, and consider two contrasting cases in which it applies, a random self-associating homopolymer and a self-associating helix. The theoretical predictions for both cases are in excellent agreement with the simulation results, demonstrating that the theory captures the essential physics governing the force spectroscopy of self-associating polymers. The disparate behaviors between the two topologies considered suggests their use as "building blocks" for novel materials with tunable mechanical properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6704-6718
Number of pages15
JournalMacromolecules
Volume45
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 28 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Force spectroscopy of self-associating homopolymers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this