Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, Vol.32, No.10, 1697-1706, 1994
The Effect of Counterions on the Chain Conformation of Polyelectrolytes, as Assessed by Extensibility in Elongational Flow - The Influence of Multiple Valency
An elongational flow technique was used to determine the effect of counterions on the chain conformation of polyelectrolyte molecules in solution, by means of the extensibility of the chains in the flow field. It is demonstrated that adding excess cations of seven low molecular weight salts, NaCl, CaCl2, BaCl2, SrCl2, MgCl2, AlCl3, and SnCl4, to a very dilute solution of fully sulphonated polystyrene (NaPSS) reduces the extensibility of the chains, that is, the facility by which a chain can be extended to varying degrees, an effect associated with chain contractions. In the case of multivalent counterions, these contractions, which with monovalent counterions are primarily due to screening of charges by excess counterions, are greatly enhanced, which we attribute to the formation of intramolecular ionic bridges. When, in the case of multivalent counterions, the polymer concentration is increased, an inversion of the effect, namely increase in chain extensibility on addition of ions, is observed. We attribute this latter effect to the ionic bridges becoming increasingly intermolecular, leading to effectively large molecules, and eventually to a gel. All these effects were accentuated with increase in valency. They could also be accompanied by precipitation which were of two kinds : one due to formation of insoluble ionic associations and a second attributable to enhanced hydrophobic interaction within the contracted chain itself.