Unusual Aspects of Charge Regulation in Flexible Weak Polyelectrolytes

PM Blanco and CF Narambuena and S Madurga and F Mas and JL Garc├ęs, POLYMERS, 15, 2680 (2023).

DOI: 10.3390/polym15122680

This article reviews the state of the art of the studies on charge regulation (CR) effects in flexible weak polyelectrolytes (FWPE). The characteristic of FWPE is the strong coupling of ionization and conformational degrees of freedom. After introducing the necessary fundamental concepts, some unconventional aspects of the the physical chemistry of FWPE are discussed. These aspects are: (i) the extension of statistical mechanics techniques to include ionization equilibria and, in particular, the use of the recently proposed Site Binding-Rotational Isomeric State (SBRIS) model, which allows the calculation of ionization and conformational properties on the same foot; (ii) the recent progresses in the inclusion of proton equilibria in computer simulations; (iii) the possibility of mechanically induced CR in the stretching of FWPE; (iv) the non-trivial adsorption of FWPE on ionized surfaces with the same charge sign as the PE (the so-called "wrong side" of the isoelectric point); (v) the influence of macromolecular crowding on CR.

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