A comprehensive theory is proposed that combines classical nucleation and polymer brush theory to describe star-like polymer micelles. With a minimum of adjustable parameters, the model predicts properties such as critical micelle concentrations and micellar size distributions. The validity of the present theory is evidenced in direct comparison to experiments; this revealed that the proportionality constant in the Daoud¿Cotton model is of the order of unity and that the star-limit is valid down to relatively short corona chains. Furthermore, we show that the predicted saddle points in the free energy correspond to those solutions that are accessible with self-consistent field methods for self-assembly.
- telechelic associative polymers
- spherical micelles
- thermodynamic characteristics
- nonionic polymers