The understanding and prediction of complex nanostructured self-assemblies such as colloidal suspensions, micelles, immiscible mixtures, microemulsions, etc., represent a challenge for conventional methods of simulation due to the presence of different time scales in their dynamics.
We have recently successfully applied a novel computer simulations technique, Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD), to model the behavior of diblockcopolymers at the water/oil interface. With the use of a simple model we have performed simulations of polymer/water/oil systems at different concentrations.
We present the results of nanoscale “coarse-grained” simulations with DPD. DPD is a mesoscale simulation technique that has been introduced in order to simulate three-dimensional structures of organic polymer aggregates.
In DPD the polymer is modeled using particles which are interacting by conservative, dissipative and random forces. Particles are not regarded as molecules but rather as droplets or nanoclusters of molecules.
We have successfully applied this technique to simulate the three-dimensional structures of microemulsions, e.g. the bicontinuous phase of a surfactant in water and oil, in domains of less than 100 nm. The different structures of the polymer/water/oil system were effectively characterized with DPD and are in remarkable agreement with the experiment.
The DPD method proofed to be a reliable tool to get a better understanding of the nanostructure of self-assemblies and is therefore applicable to support the often complicated experiments or even to obtain experimentally unavai1able data.