Polymer crystallization driven by anisotropic interactions
In this review, we consider a variety of aspects of polymer crystallization using a very simple lattice model. This model has three ingredients that give it the necessary flexibility to account for many features of polymer crystallization that have been observed experimentally. These ingredients are (1) a difference in attraction between neighboring (nonbonded) components, (2) attraction between parallel bonds, and (3) temperature-dependent flexibility due to the energy cost associated with kinks in the polymer chain. We consider this model using both dynamic Monte Carlo simulations and a simple mean-field theory. In particular, we focus on the interplay of polymer crystallization and liquid--liquid demixing in polymer solutions. In addition, we study the factors that are responsible for the characteristic crystal morphologies observed in a variety of homopolymer and statistical-copolymer crystals. Finally, we consider how the freezing of polymers in the bulk can be related to the crystallization of a single polymer chain.