Formation and structure of ionomer complexes from grafted polyelectrolytes

A.M. Brzozowska, K.J. Keesman, A. de Keizer, F.A.M. Leermakers

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We discuss the structure and formation of Ionomer Complexes formed upon mixing a grafted block copolymer (poly(acrylic acid)-b-poly(acrylate methoxy poly(ethylene oxide)), PAA21-b-PAPEO14) with a linear polyelectrolyte (poly(N-methyl 2-vinyl pyridinium iodide), P2MVPI), called grafted block ionomer complexes (GBICs), and a chemically identical grafted copolymer (poly(acrylic acid)-co-poly(acrylate methoxy poly(ethylene oxide)), PAA28-co-PAPEO22) with a linear polyelectrolyte, called grafted ionomer complexes (GICs). Light scattering measurements show that GBICs are much bigger (~70–100 nm) and GICs are much smaller or comparable in size (6–22 nm) to regular complex coacervate core micelles (C3Ms). The mechanism of GICs formation is different from the formation of regular C3Ms and GBICs, and their size depends on the length of the homopolyelectrolyte. The sizes of GBICs and GICs slightly decrease with temperature increasing from 20 to 65 °C. This effect is stronger for GBICs than for GICs, is reversible for GICs and GBIC-PAPEO14/P2MVPI228, and shows some hysteresis for GBIC-PAPEO14/P2MVPI43. Self-consistent field (SCF) calculations for assembly of a grafted block copolymer (having clearly separated charged and grafted blocks) with an oppositely charged linear polyelectrolyte of length comparable to the charged copolymer block predict formation of relatively small spherical micelles (~6 nm), with a composition close to complete charge neutralization. The formation of micellar assemblies is suppressed if charged and grafted monomers are evenly distributed along the backbone, i.e., in case of a grafted copolymer. The very large difference between the sizes found experimentally for GBICs and the sizes predicted from SCF calculations supports the view that there is some secondary association mechanism. A possible mechanism is discussed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-902
JournalColloid and Polymer Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011



  • coacervate core micelles
  • consistent-field-theory
  • protein adsorption
  • block-copolymer
  • statistical thermodynamics
  • polymeric micelles
  • reduction
  • silica
  • polystyrene
  • surfaces

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