On the research level, in our Laboratory we develop powerful molecular simulation algorithms, such as Monte Carlo and Molecular Dynamics, capable of predicting the structural, thermodynamic and dynamic/rheological properties of materials (in particular chain-like) directly from the chemical constitution of the substituent molecules through detailed simulations at the atomistic level. Today, such simulation algorithms have developed to a unique research tool for studying the properties of complex systems because of their capability to provide exact results to statistical mechanics problems (for the given molecular model) in preference to approximate solutions. Our work focuses mainly on the simulation of the physical properties of polymer melts in the bulk and at the interface with a solid substrate, and the response of their structure to an applied flow field. Additional research activities address the elucidation of structure/property relationships in polymer crystals, polymer glasses and polymer solutions, as well as the direct numerical calculation of their deformation by a stress or flow field with finite- and spectral-element methods.
In addition to carrying out first-rate research in the field of Polymer Physics, the Laboratory is committed to the advancement of knowledge and education of young people in the areas of Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics. This is accomplished through a variety of activities that involve teaching to undergraduate and graduate students, their participation into regularly held group meetings and seminars, and short visits to other laboratories preferably abroad.
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