Effect of counterions on the swelling of spherical polyelectrolyte brushes
Physikalische Chemie I, University of Bayreuth, 95440, Bayreuth, Germany
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Accepted: 12 January 2005
Published online: 1 February 2005
We investigate the swelling of colloidal spherical polyelectrolyte brushes in the presence of different counterions. The colloidal particles consist of a solid poly(styrene) core of ca. 100 nm diameter onto which linear polyelectrolyte chains are chemically grafted. Two types of polyelectrolyte chains have been used here: The cationic polyelectrolyte poly(2-(acryloyl)ethyltrimethylammonium chloride)) (PATAC) and the anionic poly(styrenesulfonate) (PSS). Both systems are dispersed in water and the degree of swelling of the surface layer is studied by dynamic light scattering. Adding more and more salt leads to a strong shrinking of the surface layer as expected for polyelectrolyte brushes. It is shown that data obtained at low ionic strength can be collapsed on suitable master curves for monovalent and divalent counterions, respectively. For some ions, however, high salt concentrations may lead to a re-swelling of the brush layer in case of the cationic systems. This points to specific interactions of the counterions with the PATAC chains. This strong specific interaction between the counterions and the attached polyelectrolyte may even lead to flocculation of the particles at intermediate salt concentration. Surprisingly, for iodide and magnesium counterions the solubility increases again if the salt concentration is raised to 1 mol/l. Hence, specific interaction leads to salting-out effects as well as to salting-in effects for these colloidal particles. All specific effects seen at high concentrations of added salt can be explained by the increase of the reduced excluded-volume parameter which is due to the adsorption of salt ions.
PACS: 82.35.Lr Physical properties of polymers – / 82.35.Rs Polyelectrolytes – / 82.70.Dd Colloids –
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag, 2005