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Influence of Explicit Ions on Titration Curves and Conformations of Flexible Polyelectrolytes: A Monte Carlo Study

Published in Macromolecules. 2010, vol. 43, no. 5, p. 2544-2553
Abstract Acid/base and conformational properties of a weak polyelectrolyte chain surrounded by explicit ions (counterions and salt particles) are investigated using Monte Carlo simulations. The influence of the pH, monomer size, presence of explicit ions, salt particles, salt size, and valency on the polyelectrolyte titration process is systematically investigated. It is shown that the presence of explicit ions, the increase in pH and monomer sizes, and the decrease in salt radius are parameters that favor the monomer deprotonation processes hence affecting the global acid/base polyelectrolyte chain properties. The competition between attractive and repulsive, long-range and local electrostatic interactions leads to a heterogeneous distribution of charges and ions along the polyelectrolyte backbones. This subtle electrostatic competition leads to equilibrated chain conformations ranging from extended to globular conformations. A simple screening effect is achieved with monovalent salt resulting in a slight limitation of the formation of extended structures at high pH values. Focusing on trivalent salt, the local complexation of several chain monomers around each trivalent cation leads to the formation of collapsed structures. The decrease in the size of trivalent cations promotes the deprotonation process, in particular, when trivalent salt cations are smaller than the monomer size.
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Research groups Environmental Physical Chemistry
ISE Pôle Sciences
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CARNAL, Fabrice, ULRICH, Serge, STOLL, Serge. Influence of Explicit Ions on Titration Curves and Conformations of Flexible Polyelectrolytes: A Monte Carlo Study. In: Macromolecules, 2010, vol. 43, n° 5, p. 2544-2553. doi: 10.1021/ma901909b https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:19417

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Deposited on : 2012-04-17

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