The journal of physical chemistry. B

Macromolecular and morphological evolution of poly(styrene sulfonate) complexes with tetradecyltrimethylammonium bromide.

PMID 22992169


Macromolecular characteristics and morphology of water-soluble complexes between sodium poly(styrene sulfonate) (PSS) and tetradecyltrimethylammonium bromide have been followed as a function of surfactant-to-polymer charge ratio (S/P) to elicit possible changes in the complexation mechanism. As revealed by light scattering, shorter PSS (30 and 150 repeat units) yield multichain complexes while longer PSS (450 and 5000 repeat units) form single-chain species throughout 0 < S/P < 0.9. Irrespective of PSS chain length, the complexes exist in solution in a swollen coil conformation and undergo a compaction with S/P but never collapse into a globule. Even when the free PSS chain is too short to coil (30 repeat units), the complexes adopt a coiled conformation due to multichain aggregation. Morphological changes (manifested by a hypochromic shift in UV spectra of the complexes at S/P < 0.5 and an increase in the local surfactant mobility observed at S/P > 0.5 by ESR) strongly suggest a change in the formation mechanism of the complexes with a transition near S/P = 0.5.