Electrokinetics of diffuse soft interfaces. III. Interpretation of data on the polyacrylamide/water interface

L.P. Yezek, J.F.L. Duval, H.P. van Leeuwen

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Abstract

Streaming potential measurements were carried out on a family of polyacrylamide-co-sodium acrylate gels cross-linked with N,N¿- methylenebisacrylamide in a homemade electrokinetic cell. Measurements of the ionic conductivity within thin films of these gels allowed the equilibrium Donnan potential difference between the bulk gel and the bulk electrolyte environments to be estimated at various ionic strengths. The resulting Donnan potential data were combined with the directly measurable streaming potential data and used to evaluate the diffuse soft interface model of electrokinetics (Langmuir 2004, 20, 10324). The model introduces the concept of a gradual decay of polymer density and fixed charge density within a narrow inter-phase at the gel/solution interface. The nature of the decay at the interface has a dramatic effect on the magnitude of the streaming potential as predicted by the diffuse soft interface model. In this investigation, the gradual decay of polymer density within the inter-phase is described with a hyperbolic tangent function. For the gels mentioned, the characteristic length scale of the decay, ¿, as calculated from the fit to the model, increases significantly with decreasing ionic strength, suggesting an osmotically driven swelling of the loosely cross-linked polymer chains at the interface. The experimental data and the results of the fitting are discussed in terms of the physical picture of the interface and compared to fitting results for a model which assumes a simple step function at the gel-solution interface.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6220-6227
JournalLangmuir
Volume21
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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Keywords

  • acrylamide-based hydrogels
  • aqueous salt-solutions
  • swelling behavior
  • electrophoretic mobility
  • microgel particles
  • donnan potentials
  • charge-density
  • gel layers
  • polyelectrolyte
  • temperature

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