The European Physical Journal E

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 167–182 | Cite as

Segmental order in end-linked polymer networks: A Monte Carlo study

  • J. -U. SommerEmail author
  • K. Saalwächter
Original Article


Segmental order in end-linked monomodal and bimodal polymer networks is investigated by means of bond-fluctuation Monte Carlo simulations. The tensor order parameter, which is a central observable in NMR experiments, is not uniquely related to simple vectorial order. The relaxation of NMR-detected tensorial interactions towards their finite long-time limit is best described by a power law and occurs over much longer time scales than the relaxation of vectorial order. The well-known prediction for the segmental order of Gaussian chains as a simple function of the segment number between constraints is not straightforwardly obeyed, neither in dry nor in swollen networks. Excluded-volume interactions tend to significantly reduce the tensorial order, as is clearly observed in single-chain simulations. A distribution extends along the chain, where order is increased in a region of 30-40 bonds around the cross-links in networks. The dominating contribution to the order parameter distribution arises from the frozen-in distribution of end-to-end separations. We find strong deviations from the Gamma distribution, which has so far been implicitly used in most NMR works, as it is a straightforward consequence of a Gaussian distribution of end separations. Specifically, we find narrower distributions, as small values of the tensor order parameter are strongly suppressed, most probably as a result of trapped entanglements. The markedly subaffine behavior of the average order parameter and the changes in its distribution on swelling are assigned to orientation processes of strands which compensate for the non-affine local deformation. Our central observations and interpretations are well supported by our previous experimental and theoretical work.


61.41.+e Polymers, elastomers, and plastics 61.18.Fs Magnetic resonance techniques; Mössbauer spectroscopy 82.35.Lr Physical properties of polymers 


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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de Chimie des Surfaces et Interfaces (CNRS)Mulhouse CedexFrance
  2. 2.Institut für Makromolekulare ChemieUniversität FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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