A Review of Computational Methods in Materials Science: Examples from Shock-Wave and Polymer Physics
This paper investigates the conformational and scaling properties of long linear polymer chains. These investigations are done with the aid of Monte Carlo (MC) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Chain lengths that comprise several orders of magnitude to reduce errors of finite size scaling, including the effect of solvent quality, ranging from the athermal limit over the theta-transition to the collapsed state of chains are investigated. Also the effect of polydispersity on linear chains is included which is an important issue in the real fabrication of polymers. A detailed account of the hybrid MD and MC simulation model and the exploited numerical methods is given. Many results of chain properties in the extrapolated limit of infinite chain lengths are documented and universal properties of the chains within their universality class are given. An example of the difference between scaling exponents observed in actual solvents and those observed in the extremes of "good solvents" and "theta-solvents" in simulations is provided by comparing simulation results with experimental data on low density polyethylene. This paper is concluded with an outlook on the extension of this study to branched chain systems of many different branching types.