Nanospheres in phase-separating multicomponent fluids: A three-dimensional dissipative particle dynamics simulation


The dynamics of phase separation of three-dimensional fluids containing nanospheres, which interact preferentially with one of the two fluids, is studied by means of large-scale dissipative particle dynamics simulations. We systematically investigated the effect of volume fraction, radius, and mass of the nanoparticles on both kinetics and morphology of the binary mixture. We found that nanospheres lead to a reduction of domain growth which is intensified as their volume fraction is increased for a given radius of nanoparticles, or as the nanoparticles radius is decreased for a given volume fraction. Up to moderate volume fractions of nanoparticles, the growth law, however, is found to be identical to that pure binary fluids, i.e., R(t)∼t n, with n=1. For relatively high volume fractions of nanoparticles, a diffusive growth regime was detected. The crossover to the slower growth regime as the nanoparticles volume fraction is increased or their radius is decreased is associated with the crystallization of the nanospheres within the preferred component. These results are qualitatively in good agreement with previous two-dimensional simulations using molecular dynamics [M. Laradji and G. MacNevin, J. Chem. Phys. 119, 2275 (2003)] and a time-dependent Ginzburg-Landau model [M. Laradji, J. Chem. Phys. 120, 9330 (2004)], as well as recent experiments. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.

Publication Title

Journal of Chemical Physics