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Soft Matter and Biological Physics

Eur. Phys. J. E 5, 415-422 (2001)

Monte-Carlo simulation of transient gel formation and break-up during reversible aggregation

J.C. Gimel, T. Nicolai and D. Durand

Polymères Colloïdes Interfaces (CNRS UMR 6120) , Université du Maine, 72085 Le Mans Cedex 9, France


(Received 1st March 2001 and Received in final form 24 April 2001)

Monte-Carlo simulations of reversible aggregation on a cubic lattice were done by introducing a finite probability (P) of nearest neighbours to form a bond. Depending on the volume fraction of occupied sites ($\phi$) and P we observed different phenomena by monitoring as a function of time the space filling and the distribution of the aggregates and the gel fraction. At smaller values of P the system develops into an equilibrium distribution of aggregates of which the average size increases with increasing $\phi$ until above a critical value the system percolates. At larger values of P the system phase separates into two phases with different densities. Above a critical value of $\phi$ the system percolates during a finite time. The life time of the gel and the maximum gel fraction were studied as a function of P.

82.70.Gg - Gels and sols.
64.75.+g - Solubility, segregation, and mixing; phase separation.
64.60.Ak - Renormalization-group, fractal, and percolation studies of phases transitions.
02.70.Lq - Monte-Carlo and statistical methods.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2001