Using phase-field simulations, we investigate the bulk coarsening dynamics of ternary polymer solutions undergoing a glass transition for two models of phase separation: diffusion-only and with hydrodynamics. The glass transition is incorporated in both models by imposing mobility and viscosity contrasts between the polymer-rich and polymer-poor phases of the evolving microstructure. For microstructures composed of polymer-poor clusters in a polymer-rich matrix, the mobility and viscosity contrasts significantly hinder coarsening, effectively leading to structural arrest. For microstructures composed of polymer-rich clusters in a polymer-poor matrix, the mobility and viscosity contrasts do not impede domain growth; rather, they change the transient concentration of the polymer-rich phase, altering the shape of the discrete domains. This effect introduces several complexities to the coarsening process, including percolation inversion of the polymer-rich and polymer-poor phases---a phenomenon normally attributed to viscoelastic phase separation.
Coarsening dynamics of ternary polymer solutions with mobility and viscosity contrasts
29 August 2023, Version 1
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