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Hydrophobically Functionalized Poly(Acrylic Acid) Comprising the Ester-Type Labile Spacer: Synthesis and Self-Organization in Water

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Department of Engineering and Technology of Chemical Processes, Faculty of Chemistry, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, Wybrzeże Wyspiańskiego 27, 50-370 Wrocław, Poland
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Department of Engineering and Technology of Polymers, Faculty of Chemistry, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, Wybrzeże Wyspiańskiego 27, 50-370 Wrocław, Poland
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Jerzy Haber Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Niezapominajek 8, 30-239 Kraków, Poland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2020, 12(5), 1185; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12051185
Received: 22 April 2020 / Revised: 14 May 2020 / Accepted: 18 May 2020 / Published: 22 May 2020
One of the most important properties of hydrophobically functionalized polyelectrolytes (HF-PEs) and their assemblies is their ability to encapsulate hydrophobic/amphiphilic agents and provide release on demand of the entrapped payload. The aim of the present work was to synthesize and study self-organization behavior in aqueous solution of hydrophobically functionalized poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) comprising the ester-type pH labile moiety with various degrees of hydrophobization and side-chain lengths in the absence and presence of appropriate mono- and polyvalent electrolytes (i.e., NaCl or CaCl2). The synthesis and purification of hydrophobically functionalized PAA were performed under mild conditions in order to avoid chemical degradation of the polymers. The modified polyelectrolytes self-assembly in aqueous systems was monitored using diffusion-ordered nuclear magnetic resonance (DOSY NMR). The performed studies, supported by the all-atoms molecular dynamics simulations, revealed a strong dependence of polyelectrolyte self-assembled state on concentration—specific concentration regions with the coexistence of both smaller and larger aggregates were observed (values of hydrodynamic diameter DH around one nanometer and between two to six nanometers, respectively). Our investigations enabled us to gain crucial information about the self-assembly of the hydrophobically functionalized poly(acrylic acid) and opened the possibility of understanding and predicting its performance under various conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrophobically functionalized polyelectrolytes; modified poly(acrylic acid); pH-sensitive structures; self-aggregation in aqueous solution; NMR diffusometry; molecular dynamics simulations hydrophobically functionalized polyelectrolytes; modified poly(acrylic acid); pH-sensitive structures; self-aggregation in aqueous solution; NMR diffusometry; molecular dynamics simulations
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Lamch, Ł.; Ronka, S.; Moszyńska, I.; Warszyński, P.; Wilk, K.A. Hydrophobically Functionalized Poly(Acrylic Acid) Comprising the Ester-Type Labile Spacer: Synthesis and Self-Organization in Water. Polymers 2020, 12, 1185.

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