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Particle-induced phase separation in mixed polymer solutions

By Martin Olsson, Fredrik Joabsson and Lennart Piculell


The influence of added colloidal particles on the phase separation of mixed aqueous polymer solutions is investigated. Two types of particles (polystyrene latex or silica) and different combinations of segregating polymers (dextran of varying molar mass combined with poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) of varying molar mass, or Ucon, a copolymer of ethylene oxide and propylene oxide) were used. All systems displayed particle-induced instability effects, but the extent of the effect varied strongly between the various combinations and with the amount of added salt. Very large instability effects were seen in certain mixtures. Two mechanisms, both relying on the adsorption of at least one of the polymers to the particle surface, seem to operate. Close to the cloud-point curve of the particle-free polymer 1/polymer2/water mixture, adsorption of PEO or Ucon to the particles gives rise to a capillary-induced phase separation. Close to the dextran/water axis of the phase diagram, the adsorbing polymer gives rise to a surface modification of the particles, which then interacts repulsively with the surrounding dextran solution

Topics: Physical Chemistry
Publisher: 'American Chemical Society (ACS)'
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1021/la047762i
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