Europhys. Lett.
Volume 67, Number 5, September 2004
Page(s) 786 - 792
Section Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 01 August 2004
Europhys. Lett., 67 (5), pp. 786-792 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10121-x

Scaling in polyelectrolyte networks

B. A. Mann1, R. Everaers2, C. Holm1 and K. Kremer1

1  MPI für Polymerforschung - Ackermannweg 10, 55128 Mainz, Germany
2  MPI für Physik komplexer Systeme - Nöthnitzerstr. 38, 01187 Dresden, Germany

(Received 13 April 2004; accepted 21 June 2004)

Using scaling arguments, the equilibrium swelling behaviour of a cross-linked polyelectrolyte gel has been investigated by means of molecular-dynamics simulations of a coarse-grained model; a bead-spring defect-free network with diamond-like topology was considered at the $\theta$-point and under good solvent conditions, where the counterions were treated explicitly. A multitude of systems covering the range between strongly and very weakly charged gels with network chains bearing $N_{\ab{m}}=39,\ldots,
259$ monomers each were examined for both solvent qualities. We compare the resulting structures with mechanical theories describing the swelling behaviour of such systems which, after taking charge renormalization into account, can then be successfully applied to our measured data.

61.25.Hq - Macromolecular and polymer solutions; polymer melts; swelling.
36.20.Ey - Exotic atoms and molecules; macromolecules; clusters: Conformation (statistics and dynamics).
87.15.Aa - Theory and modeling; computer simulation.

© EDP Sciences 2004