What is it about?

This work is about how polymers "freeze" into solids. Polymers are long molecules, like a piece of spaghetti. We found that when the temperature drops, polymers can become one of two different phases. In one phase they line up but do not form a crystal, and in the other phase they form a crystal.

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Why is it important?

There are questions about the theory of how polymers freeze that we don't understand. For a long time, people thought that polymers crystallized the same way as many other molecules, but recently some people have found evidence that it may not be so simple. We are trying to help answer that question.

Perspectives

We use a different technique than most other scientists have done to find out about the freezing behavior. This technique gives us the unique ability to compare to theory that other simulations haven't been able to do. However, in this paper we ended up using a very simple model that wasn't very realistic. We learned something about freezing for the simple model, but we are going to need to do more work for more realistic models.

Douglas Tree
Brigham Young University

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This page is a summary of: Semiflexible oligomers crystallize via a cooperative phase transition, The Journal of Chemical Physics, December 2021, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0067788.
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