Based on classical nucleation theory, we propose a couple of theoretical models for the nucleation of polymer crystallization, i.e. one for a single chain system (Model S) and the other for a multi-chain system (Model M). In these models, we assume that the nucleus is composed of tails, loops and a cylindrical ordered region, and we evaluate the conformation entropy explicitly by introducing a transfer matrix. Using these two models, we evaluate the occurrence probability of critical nucleus as a function of the polymer chain stiffness. We found that the critical nucleus in Model M is easier to occur than in Model S because, for semi-flexible chains, the nucleus in Model M can grow by adding a new polymer chain into the nucleus rather than to diminish the loop and tail parts as in the case of Model S.
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