EPJ E - Gems for polymer scientists

EPJ E - Gems for polymer scientists

Tiny polymer droplets that crystallize on a surface are a shrewd expedient to study the birth of a polymer crystal by the elusive homogeneous nucleation mechanism. In most cases, take for example the dust particle in a snowflake, nucleation starts from a heterogenous defect. Homogenous nucleation is difficult to study because of the prevalence of defects in any bulk sample. Crystallization in small droplets alleviates this difficulty in a manner that is conceptually simple: subdivide the system into more domains than the number of defects. If the domains greatly outnumber the defects then only the homogenous mechanism can induce nucleation in a defect free compartment.

Such an approach, reported in EPJ E, has been used to investigate nucleation in polyethylene (PE) droplets. A polystyrene layer forms an unfavorable surface for a thin PE film. On heating, the unstable PE film dewets to form tiny droplets, much like water beading up on a waxy leaf. The result is a sample made of thousands of droplets that can be monitored simultaneously through optical microscopy. This is an ideal setting in which a nucleation event becomes easily distinguishable by the rapid growth of the crystal. Each droplet becomes an isolated independent nucleation experiment and studying homogenous nucleation becomes straightforward.

Relating the probability of homogenous nucleation to the size of the droplet, the authors show that nucleation is surface activated. Stated most simply, a droplet with twice the surface area is twice as likely to nucleate, indicating that the perturbation induced by the interface favours crystal nucleation.

To read the full paper “Surface nucleation in the crystallization of polyethylene droplets” J.L. Carvalho and K.Dalnoki-Veress, Eur. Phys. J. E (2011) 34: 6, click here.

This was our first experience of publishing with EPJ Web of Conferences. We contacted the publisher in the middle of September, just one month prior to the Conference, but everything went through smoothly. We have had published MNPS Proceedings with different publishers in the past, and would like to tell that the EPJ Web of Conferences team was probably the best, very quick, helpful and interactive. Typically, we were getting responses from EPJ Web of Conferences team within less than an hour and have had help at every production stage.
We are very thankful to Solange Guenot, Web of Conferences Publishing Editor, and Isabelle Houlbert, Web of Conferences Production Editor, for their support. These ladies are top-level professionals, who made a great contribution to the success of this issue. We are fully satisfied with the publication of the Conference Proceedings and are looking forward to further cooperation. The publication was very fast, easy and of high quality. My colleagues and I strongly recommend EPJ Web of Conferences to anyone, who is interested in quick high-quality publication of conference proceedings.

On behalf of the Organizing and Program Committees and Editorial Team of MNPS-2019, Dr. Alexey B. Nadykto, Moscow State Technological University “STANKIN”, Moscow, Russia. EPJ Web of Conferences vol. 224 (2019)

ISSN: 2100-014X (Electronic Edition)

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