Europhys. Lett.
Volume 71, Number 6, September 2005
Page(s) 938 - 944
Section Condensed matter: structural, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 10 August 2005
Europhys. Lett., 71 (6), pp. 938-944 (2005)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10175-2

Anomalous counterion condensation in salt-free hydrophobic polyelectrolyte solutions: Osmotic pressure measurements

W. Essafi1, F. Lafuma2, D. Baigl3 and C. E. Williams3

1  LURE, CNRS-CEA-MEN, Université de Paris-Sud - F-91405 Orsay, France
2  Laboratoire de Physicochimie des Polymères, Université P. et M. Curie, ESPCI 10 rue Vauquelin, F-75231 Paris, France
3  Laboratoire de Physique de la Matière Condensée, UMR 7125 CNRS-Collège de France - 11 Place Marcelin Berthelot, F-75321 Paris, France

received 13 April 2005; accepted in final form 15 July 2005
published online 10 August 2005

The effective charge fraction feff of a highly charged hydrophobic polyelectrolyte (poly(styrene)-co-styrene sulphonate, sodium salt) has been measured as a function of the bare chemical charge fraction f between 0.38 and 1 by osmotic-pressure measurements complemented by cryoscopy. It was found that feff is highly reduced, compared to the prediction of counterion condensation theory and the measurements we made on a model hydrophilic polyelectrolyte. Furtheremore, feff varies linearly with the chemical charge fraction and extrapolates to zero effective charge at a chemical charge fraction of 0.18, a value close to the limit of solubility of the polyelectrolyte in water. We relate this anomalous behaviour to the variations of the local dielectric constant, measured previously with the same polyelectrolyte, a parameter which is not considered in the structural models for hydrophobic polyelectrolytes.

61.25.Hq - Macromolecular and polymer solutions; polymer melts; swelling.
82.35.Rs - Polyelectrolytes.
82.39.Wj - Ion exchange, dialysis, osmosis, electro-osmosis, membrane processes.

© EDP Sciences 2005