Self-association (i.e. interchain aggregation) behavior of atactic poly(ethacrylic acid) PEA in dilute aqueous solution as function of degree-of-neutralization by Na+ counter-ions (i.e. charge fraction f) was investigated by molecular dynamics simulations. Aggregation is found to occur in the range 0 ≤ f ≤0.7 in agreement with experimental results compared at specified polymer concentration Cp = 0.36 mol/l in dilute solution. The macromolecular solution was characterized and analysed for radius-of-gyration, torsion angle distribution, inter and intra-molecular hydrogen bonds, radial distribution functions of intermolecular and inter-atomic pairs, inter-chain contacts and solvation enthalpy. The PEA chains form aggregate through attractive inter-chain interaction via hydrogen bonding, in the range f < 0.7, in agreement with experimental observation. The numbers of inter-chain contacts decreases with f. A critical structural transition occurs at f = 0.7, observed via simulations for the first time, in Rg as well as inter-chain H-bonds. The inter-chain distance increases with f due to repulsive interactions between COO− groups on the chains. PEA-PEA electrostatic interactions dominant solvation enthalpy. The PEA solvation enthalpy becomes increasingly favorable with increase in f. The transition enthalpy change, in going from uncharged (acid) state to fully charged state (f = 1) is unfavorable towards aggregate formation. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.
|Journal||Data powered by TypesetJournal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling|
|Publisher||Data powered by TypesetElsevier Inc.|