A Monte Carlo simulation of the aggregation, phase-separation, and gelation of model globular molecules

Geoffrey Costello, Stephen R. Euston

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Monte Carlo computer simulation on a square 3-D lattice is used to model state behavior of globular copolymers. Two types of globular molecules were defined. One consisted of a single type of subunit (a homopolymer) while the second contained a core of strongly attractive subunits and an outer layer of less strongly attractive subunits (a heteropolymer). Systems of globules were simulated at varied volume fraction (Vp) and reduced temperature (TR), and state diagrams were constructed. These state diagrams contained state boundaries defined by the VF/TR combinations at which the system formed a percolating network and at which the various component subunits in the globule unfolded. Simulated systems could exist in a number of states (between 4 and 7), depending on the VF. TR, whether the molecule was a homo- or heteroglobule and whether the globules were allowed to interact with each other or not. All systems exhibited a gelation/crossover line that resembled a lower critical solution temperature. All systems also exhibited a critical gelation concentration, above which a continuous network was formed. The critical gelation concentration varied between about 2-4% VF depending on the type of system. This is comparable to experimental critical gelation concentrations of in the region of 4% (w/w) for a range of associating polymers and biopolymers such as globular proteins and polysaccharides. Other states were formed which included one where elongated, fibril-like aggregated strands were formed, and a micelle-like aggregated state. The results are discussed in terms of the known state behavior of associating polymers and biopolymers (proteins and polysaccharides). © 2006 American Chemical Society.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)10151-10164
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
    Volume110
    Issue number20
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2006

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