Microrheological Approach for Probing the Entanglement Properties of Polyelectrolyte Solutions

Atsushi Matsumoto, Chi Zhang, Frank Scheffold, Amy Q. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The entanglement dynamics and viscoelasticity of polyelectrolyte solutions remain active research topics. Previous studies have reported conflicting experimental results when compared to Dobrynin's scaling predictions derived from the Doi-Edwards (DE) tube model for entangled polymers. Herein, by combining classical bulk shear rheometry with diffusing wave spectroscopy (DWS) microrheometry, we investigate how the key viscoelastic parameters (the specific viscosity ηsp, the plateau modulus Ge, and the ratio of the reptation time to the Rouse time of an entanglement strand τrep/τe) depend on the polymer concentration for semidilute entangled (SE) solutions containing poly(sodium styrenesulfonate) with high molecular weight. Our experimental measurements yield Ge ≈ c1.51±0.04, in good agreement with the scaling of Ge ≈ c1.5 predicted by Dobrynin's model for salt-free polyelectrolyte SE solutions, suggesting that the electrostatic interaction influences the viscoelastic properties of polyelectrolyte SE solutions. On the other hand, the deviation in the scaling exponent for ηsp ≈ c2.56±0.04 and τrep/τe ≈ c1.82±0.28 is observed between our DWS experiments and Dobrynin's model prediction (≈ c1.5), likely due to the fact that Dobrynin's scaling model does not account for mechanisms such as the contour length fluctuation, the constraint release, and the retardation of solvent dynamics, which are known to occur for SE solutions of neutral polymers. Our results demonstrate that DWS serves as a powerful rheological tool to study the entanglement dynamics of polyelectrolyte solutions. The scaling relationships obtained in this study provide new insights to the long-standing debate on the entanglement dynamics of polyelectrolyte solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 18 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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