Field-Theoretic Simulations of Polymeric Materials
Plastic materials and solution-borne polymer formulations prove challenging to design because they often contain many components and can exhibit self-assembly and phase behavior of daunting complexity. I will describe a suite of new modeling tools under development that is well suited to this class of soft material design problems. Specifically, we have developed “field-theoretic simulation” (FTS) schemes for numerically sampling functional integrals comprising statistical field theory models of complex fluid systems. The FTS technique can be viewed as a strategy for relaxing the mean-field approximation inherent in self-consistent field theories, or as a new type of computer simulation. I will discuss applications to problems related to the design of nano-structured polymer alloys, and highlight the theoretical and computational challenges that are limiting further development of the field.
Glenn Fredrickson, University of California, Santa Barbara