Langmuir, Vol.32, No.11, 2750-2760, 2016
Effect of Uniformly Applied Force and Molecular Characteristics of a Polymer Chain on Its Adhesion to Graphene Substrates
The force-induced desorption of a polymer chain from a graphene substrate is studied with molecular dynamics (MD). A critical force needs to be exceeded before detachment of the polymer from the substrate. It is found that for a chain to exhibit good adhesive properties the chain configuration should consist of fibrils elongated, aligned sections of polymers and cavities which dissipate the applied energy. A fibrillation index is defined to quantify the quality of fibrils. We focus on the molecular properties of the polymer chain, which can lead to large amounts of fibrillation, and find that both strong attraction between the polymer and substrate and good solvency conditions are important conditions for this. We also vary the stiffness of the chain and find that for less stiff chains a plateau in the stress-strain curve gives rise to good adhesion however for very stiff chains there is limited elongation of the chain but the chain can still exhibit good fibrillation by a lamella-like rearrangement. Finally, it is found that the detachment time, t, of a polymer from the adsorbed substrate is inversely proportional to force, F (i.e., t proportional to F-gamma), where exponent gamma depends on the solvent quality, polymer-substrate attraction, and chain stiffness.