Volume 48, Number 2, October II 1999
|Page(s)||170 - 176|
|Section||Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties|
|Published online||01 September 2002|
Onset of self-assembly in polymer-surfactant systems
School of Physics and Astronomy Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences Tel Aviv University, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel
Accepted: 23 August 1999
The onset of self-assembly in a dilute aqueous solution containing a flexible polymer and surfactant is theoretically studied. Focusing on the effect of the surfactant on polymer conformation and using a conjecture of partial collapse of the polymer at the onset of self-assembly, we obtain results which agree with known experimental observations: i) polymer-surfactant self-assembly always starts at a lower concentration (cac) than the one required for surfactant-surfactant self-assembly (cmc); ii) in charged systems the cac increases with salt concentration and is almost independent of polymer charge; iii) in weakly interacting systems the cac remains roughly proportional to the cmc over a wide range of cmc values. The special case of amphiphilic side-chain polymers strongly supports our basic conjecture. A similarity is found between the partial collapse induced by the surfactant and general results concerning the effect of impurities on critical phenomena.
PACS: 61.25.Hq – Macromolecular and polymer solutions; polymer melts; swelling / 61.41.+e – Polymers, elastomers, and plastics / 82.65.Dp – Thermodynamics of surfaces and interfaces
© EDP Sciences, 1999
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