PMID: 14104085Jan 1, 1964Paper


Biophysical Journal


Polyelectrolytes are water-soluble electrically charged polymers. Their properties are determined by the interplay of the electrical forces, the Brownian motion of the macromolecular chain, and intermolecular Van der Waals forces. Charged polyacids or polybases are stretched by the electrostatic forces, as evidenced by increase in solution viscosity, or by the stretching of polyelectrolyte gels. The electrical field of the polyions is neutralized by a dense atmosphere of counter-ions. The counter-ion attraction to the polyions is expressed by a reduction of the osmotic activity of the polyion-the osmotic pressure being only 15 to 20 per cent of the ideal in highly charged polyelectrolytes neutralized by monovalent counter-ions, and as low as 1 to 3 per cent of the ideal for polyvalent counter-ions. Since the ionic atmosphere is only slightly dependent on added low molecular salt, the osmotic pressure of polyelectrolyte salt mixtures is approximately equal to the sum of the osmotic pressure of polyelectrolyte and salt alone. Acidic and basic polyelectrolytes interact electrostatically with precipitation at the point of polymeric electroneutrality. At higher salt concentrations the interaction is inhibited by the screening of pol...Continue Reading


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