Scaling in Polymer Physics
Scaling ideas form a central part of our understanding of the behaviour of long, chain-like, flexible macromolecules. As the chain length or molecular weight M becomes sufficiently large, chemically different polymers exhibit universal enhancement of various molecular properties, e.g. coil dimensions and relaxation times. It is the enhanced properties that make polymers such important practical materials — the viscosity of an oil, the elasticity of a rubber, the setting of gels, the stabilization of suspensions, the toughness of ‘plastics’ and many more. There is, for certain properties at least, an underlying thermodynamic critical point, via an analogy where the conventional role of T-Tc is played by 1/M. It is explicitly the incidence of high molecular weight that corresponds to critical and scaling behaviour and not a narrow range of parameters.
KeywordsPolymer Coil Blob Size Coil Dimension Gaussian Coil Monomeric Friction
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