The effect of temperature jumps during polymer crystallization

Jonathan P. K. Doye and Daan Frenkel

Polymer 41, 1519-1528 (2000)


Temperature changes during the growth of lamellar polymer crystals give rise to steps on the surface of the crystals. It has recently been suggested that these steps could provide important insights into the mechanism of polymer crystallization. In particular, a characterization of the profiles of these steps might reveal the fixed-point attractor that underlies a recently proposed crystallization mechanism. Here we examine this hypothesis by performing simulations of such temperature jumps using the Sadler-Gilmer model. We find that for this model the step profiles do reveal the fixed-point attractor. However, for temperature decreases they also reflect the rounding of the crystal edge that occurs in this model and for temperature increases they also reflect the fluctuations in the thickness present in the crystal. We discuss the implications of these results for the interpretation of experimental step profiles.

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