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Influence of the Hydrophobicity of Polyelectrolytes on Polyelectrolyte Complex Formation and Complex Particle Structure and Shape

Author(s): Mandy Mende | Simona Schwarz | Stefan Zschoche | Gudrun Petzold | Andreas Janke

Journal: Polymers
ISSN 2073-4360

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 1363;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: hydrophobicity | polyelectrolyte complex | dynamic light scattering | atomic force microscopy

Polyelectrolyte complexes (PECs) were prepared by structural uniform and strongly charged cationic and anionic modified alternating maleic anhydride copolymers. The hydrophobicity of the polyelectrolytes was changed by the comonomers (ethylene, isobutylene and styrene). Additionally, the n−/n+ ratio of the molar charges of the polyelectrolytes and the procedure of formation were varied. The colloidal stability of the systems and the size, shape, and structure of the PEC particles were investigated by turbidimetry, dynamic light scattering (DLS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Dynamic light scattering indicates that beside large PEC particle aggregates distinct smaller particles were formed by the copolymers which have the highest hydrophobicity (styrene). These findings could be proved by AFM. Fractal dimension (D), root mean square (RMS) roughness and the surface profiles of the PEC particles adsorbed on mica allow the following conclusions: the higher the hydrophobicity of the polyelectrolytes, the broader is the particle size distribution and the minor is the swelling of the PEC particles. Hence, the most compact particles are formed with the very hydrophobic copolymer.
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