Using jet mixing to prepare polyelectrolyte complexes: Complex properties and their interaction with silicon oxide surfaces

Ankerfors C., ONDARAL S. , Wagberg L., Odberg L.

JOURNAL OF COLLOID AND INTERFACE SCIENCE, vol.351, no.1, pp.88-95, 2010 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 351 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jcis.2010.07.027
  • Page Numbers: pp.88-95


The influence of mixing procedure on the properties of polyelectrolyte complexes (PECs) was investigated using two complexation techniques, polyelectrolyte titration and jet mixing, the latter being a new method for PEC preparation. For the low-molecular-weight polyelectrolytes polyacrylic acid (PAA) and polyallyl amine hydrochloride (PAH), shorter mixing times produced smaller PECs, whereas for higher molecular weights of the same polyelectrolytes, PEC size first decreased with decreasing mixing time to a certain level, after which it started increasing again. This pattern was likely due to the diffusion-controlled formation of "pre-complexes", which, in the case of low-molecular-weight polymers, occurs sufficiently quickly to form stable complexes; when polyelectrolytes are larger, however, non-equilibrium pre-complexes, more prone to aggregation, are formed. Comparing the techniques revealed that jet mixing produced smaller complexes, allowing PEC size to be controlled by mixing time, which was not the case with polyelectrolyte titration. Higher polyelectrolyte concentration during jet mixing led to the formation of larger PECs. It was also demonstrated that PEC size could be changed after preparation: increasing the pH of the PEC dispersion led to an irreversible increase in PEC size, whereas lowering the pH did not influence PEC size. The adsorption behavior of PECs formed from weak polyelectrolytes on model substrates was studied using QCM-D, SPAR, and AFM imaging; the results indicated that increasing the pH increased the amount of PECs adsorbed to model surfaces. However, the amount of PECs adsorbed to the model surfaces was low compared with other systems in all studied cases. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.