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Polyelectrolytes Near Solid Surfaces


Balzer, Christopher James (2023) Polyelectrolytes Near Solid Surfaces. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/kga2-1820.


Polyelectrolytes are ubiquitous in nature and in the products we use daily. The combination of their connectivity and charge lead to many useful properties in solution and near surfaces. Electrostatic forces dominate much of the behavior of charged species near solid surfaces; however, nonelectrostatic forces arising ion specific interactions or from varying polymer chemistry play an important role in tuning electrolyte and polyelectrolyte properties. The balance of these forces depends on factors like the salt concentration, solution pH, and properties of the surface. The current work outlines the thermodynamics of charged systems and investigates the structure and phase behavior of polyelectrolytes near solid surfaces. In particular, the work covers the thermodynamic aspects of preferential adsorption of small ions in electric double layers, polyelectrolyte adsorption, polymer-mediated interactions of surfaces using strong and weak electrolytes, surface phase transitions and contact angles of complex coacervates on solid surfaces, complexation-induced conformational phase transitions of polyelectrolyte brushes, and electro-swelling of weak polyelectrolyte brushes. The wide variety of problems addressed here reflects the variety of applications of polyelectrolytes and contexts in which polyelectrolytes appear.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Thermodynamics, Polymers, Statistical Mechanics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemical Engineering
Minor Option:Applied And Computational Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Wang, Zhen-Gang
Thesis Committee:
  • Brady, John F. (chair)
  • See, Kimberly
  • Frischknecht, Amalie L.
  • Wang, Zhen-Gang
Defense Date:7 April 2023
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF)DE-SC0020347
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05162023-233932300
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted for Chapter 2 adapted for Chapter 2 adapted for Chapter 3 adapted for Chapter 4
Balzer, Christopher James0000-0002-9767-8437
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:15182
Deposited By: Christopher Balzer
Deposited On:17 May 2023 23:32
Last Modified:20 Jun 2023 22:23

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