Density functional theory for polymer fluids with molecular weight polydispersity
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We develop a density-functional theory for polydisperse polymer fluids satisfying the Schulz-Flory distribution. The resulting equations are remarkably simple and quickly solved, the computational effort scaling with the polydispersity index, rather than the average molecular weight. Equilibrium, or "living", polymers enter naturally as very polydisperse samples. We illustrate the importance of polydispersity on colloid stability by investigating interactions between adsorbing and nonadsorbing surfaces. Significant free energy barriers are present in monodisperse samples, but these diminish as the degree of polydispersity increases.