Polymers 2014, 6(6), 1756-1772; doi:10.3390/polym6061756
Article

The Effect of Salt on the Complex Coacervation of Vinyl Polyelectrolytes

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Received: 5 May 2014; in revised form: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 4 June 2014 / Published: 16 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polyelectrolytes 2014)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Complex coacervation is an electrostatically-driven phase separation phenomenon that is utilized in a wide range of everyday applications and is of great interest for the creation of self-assembled materials. Here, we utilized turbidity to characterize the effect of salt type on coacervate formation using two vinyl polyelectrolytes, poly(acrylic acid sodium salt) (pAA) and poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (pAH), as simple models for industrial and biological coacervates. We confirmed the dominant role of salt valence on the extent of coacervate formation, while demonstrating the presence of significant secondary effects, which can be described by Hofmeister-like behavior. These results revealed the importance of ion-specific interactions, which are crucial for the informed design of coacervate-based materials for use in complex ionic environments, and can enable more detailed theoretical investigations on the role of subtle electrostatic and thermodynamic effects in complex coacervation.
Keywords: complex coacervation; polyelectrolyte complex; ionic strength; multivalent; charge density; poly(acrylic acid); poly(allylamine)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Perry, S.L.; Li, Y.; Priftis, D.; Leon, L.; Tirrell, M. The Effect of Salt on the Complex Coacervation of Vinyl Polyelectrolytes. Polymers 2014, 6, 1756-1772.

AMA Style

Perry SL, Li Y, Priftis D, Leon L, Tirrell M. The Effect of Salt on the Complex Coacervation of Vinyl Polyelectrolytes. Polymers. 2014; 6(6):1756-1772.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Perry, Sarah L.; Li, Yue; Priftis, Dimitrios; Leon, Lorraine; Tirrell, Matthew. 2014. "The Effect of Salt on the Complex Coacervation of Vinyl Polyelectrolytes." Polymers 6, no. 6: 1756-1772.

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