skip to main content

Title: Co-non-solvency: Mean-field polymer theory does not describe polymer collapse transition in a mixture of two competing good solvents

Smart polymers are a modern class of polymeric materials that often exhibit unpredictable behavior in mixtures of solvents. One such phenomenon is co-non-solvency. Co-non-solvency occurs when two (perfectly) miscible and competing good solvents, for a given polymer, are mixed together. As a result, the same polymer collapses into a compact globule within intermediate mixing ratios. More interestingly, polymer collapses when the solvent quality remains good and even gets increasingly better by the addition of the better cosolvent. This is a puzzling phenomenon that is driven by strong local concentration fluctuations. Because of the discrete particle based nature of the interactions, Flory-Huggins type mean field arguments become unsuitable. In this work, we extend the analysis of the co-non-solvency effect presented earlier [D. Mukherji et al., Nat. Commun. 5, 4882 (2014)]. We explain why co-non-solvency is a generic phenomenon, which can only be understood by the thermodynamic treatment of the competitive displacement of (co)solvent components. This competition can result in a polymer collapse upon improvement of the solvent quality. Specific chemical details are not required to understand these complex conformational transitions. Therefore, a broad range of polymers are expected to exhibit similar reentrant coil-globule-coil transitions in competing good solvents.
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Max-Planck Institut für Polymerforschung, Ackermannweg 10, 55128 Mainz (Germany)
  2. (France)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22415545
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Chemical Physics; Journal Volume: 142; Journal Issue: 11; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; CONCENTRATION RATIO; CONFORMATIONAL CHANGES; FLUCTUATIONS; MEAN-FIELD THEORY; MIXING RATIO; MIXTURES; PARTICLES; POLYMERS; SOLVENTS