Madruga Sánchez, Santiago and Bribesh, Fathi and Thiele, Uwe
Bifurcation diagrams for polymer blends with diffuse interfaces in confined and adaptive geometries.
In: "Advances in Computational Mechanics. A Conference celebrating the 70th Birthday of Thomas J. R. Hughes", 24/27 febrero 2013, San Diego (USA).
Dynamics of binary mixtures such as polymer blends, and fluids near the critical point, is described by the model-H, which couples momentum transport and diffusion of the components . We present an extended version of the model-H that allows to study the combined effect of phase separation in a polymer blend and surface structuring of the film itself . We apply it to analyze the stability of vertically stratified base states on extended films of polymer blends and show that convective transport leads to new mechanisms of instability as compared to the simpler diffusive case described by the Cahn- Hilliard model [3, 4]. We carry out this analysis for realistic parameters of polymer blends used in experimental setups such as PS/PVME. However, geometrically more complicated states involving lateral structuring, strong deflections of the free surface, oblique diffuse interfaces, checkerboard modes, or droplets of a component above of the other are possible at critical composition solving the Cahn Hilliard equation in the static limit for rectangular domains [5, 6] or with deformable free surfaces . We extend these results for off-critical compositions, since balanced overall composition in experiments are unusual. In particular, we study steady nonlinear solutions of the Cahn-Hilliard equation for bidimensional layers with fixed geometry and deformable free surface. Furthermore we distinguished the cases with and without energetic bias at the free surface. We present bifurcation diagrams for off-critical films of polymer blends with free surfaces, showing their free energy, and the L2-norms of surface deflection and the concentration field, as a function of lateral domain size and mean composition. Simultaneously, we look at spatial dependent profiles of the height and concentration. To treat the problem of films with arbitrary surface deflections our calculations are based on minimizing the free energy functional at given composition and geometric constraints using a variational approach based on the Cahn-Hilliard equation. The problem is solved numerically using the finite element method (FEM).