- Effect of excluded volume interactions on the interfacial properties of colloid-polymer mixtures
- Journal of Chemical Physics
- Volume | Issue number
- 128 | 2
- Article number
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS)
We report a numerical study of equilibrium phase diagrams and interfacial properties of bulk and confined colloid-polymer mixtures using grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations. Colloidal particles are treated as hard spheres, while the polymer chains are described as soft repulsive spheres. The polymer-polymer, colloid-polymer, and wall-polymer interactions are described by density-dependent potentials derived by Bolhuis and Louis [Macromolecules 35, 1860 (2002)]. We compared our results with those of the Asakura-Oosawa-Vrij model [J. Chem. Phys. 22, 1255 (1954); J. Polym Sci 33, 183 (1958); Pure Appl. Chem. 48, 471 (1976)] that treats the polymers as ideal particles. We find that the number of polymers needed to drive the demixing transition is larger for the interacting polymers, and that the gas-liquid interfacial tension is smaller. When the system is confined between two parallel hard plates, we find capillary condensation. Compared with the Asakura-Oosawa-Vrij model, we find that the excluded volume interactions between the polymers suppress the capillary condensation. In order to induce capillary condensation, smaller undersaturations and smaller plate separations are needed in comparison with ideal polymers.
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