Design of Polymer Nanocomposites Materials: General strategies, Molecular Dynamics and video games.

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Date/Time:Monday, 08 Nov 2010 from 4:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Location:Physics Room 5
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Alex Travesset (Iowa State University)

Polymer nanocomposites, materials combining polymers with inorganic components with at least one dimension in the nanoscopic scale hold great promise for the design of materials that will surpass current limits in critical applications. Yet, the route to create such materials has been plagued with considerable challenges: It has proven extremely difficult to control the dispersion of the inorganic component within the polymeric matrix or to arrange them forming specified long range order. In this talk I will describe some general strategies for the self-assembly of polymer nanocomposites. Particular examples will be described with soluble non-ionic polymers in aqueous solutions containing hydrophobic (that dislike water) blocks, such as Pluronic (or Poloxamers) polymers, consisting of symmetric triblocks of Polyethylene oxide (PEO) and Polypropilene oxyde (PPO) and inorganic components or nanoparticles. Key in our advance in this field has been our use of Graphic Processing Units (GPUs), originally developed for video game aficionados, as a powerful tool for Molecular Dynamics. I will conclude with some perspectives and outlook.