The immunity of polymer-microemulsion networks
Department of Materials and Interfaces, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 76100, Israel
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Published online: 17 January 2006
The concept of network immunity, i.e., the robustness of the network connectivity after a random deletion of edges or vertices, has been investigated in biological or communication networks. We apply this concept to a self-assembling, physical network of microemulsion droplets connected by telechelic polymers, where more than one polymer can connect a pair of droplets. The gel phase of this system has higher immunity if it is more likely to survive (i.e., maintain a macroscopic, connected component) when some of the polymers are randomly degraded. We consider the distribution p(σ) of the number of polymers between a pair of droplets, and show that gel immunity decreases as the variance of p(σ) increases. Repulsive interactions between the polymers decrease the variance, while attractive interactions increase the variance, and may result in a bimodal p(σ).
© EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/Springer-Verlag, 2006