In micellar surfactant solutions, changes in the total number of micelles are rare events that can occur by either of two mechanisms - by stepwise association and dissociation via insertion and expulsion of individual molecules or by fission and fusion of entire micelles. Molecular dynamics simulations are used here to estimate rates of these competing mechanisms in a simple model of block copolymer micelles in homopolymer solvent. This model exhibits a crossover with increasing degree of repulsion between solvent and micelle core components, from a regime dominated by association and dissociation to a regime dominated by fission and fusion.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported primarily by NSF Grant No. DMR-1310436, with partial support from the NMP and MP programs of the University of Minnesota Industrial Partnership for Interfacial and Materials Engineering (IPRIME) center. Computational resources for this work were provided by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) at the University of Minnesota.
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