Salt Effect on Osmotic Pressure of Polyelectrolyte Solutions: Simulation Study

JMY Carrillo and AV Dobrynin, POLYMERS, 6, 1897-1913 (2014).

DOI: 10.3390/polym6071897

We present results of the hybrid Monte Carlo/molecular dynamics simulations of the osmotic pressure of salt solutions of polyelectrolytes. In our simulations, we used a coarse-grained representation of polyelectrolyte chains, counterions and salt ions. During simulation runs, we alternate Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulation steps. Monte Carlo steps were used to perform small ion exchange between simulation box containing salt ions (salt reservoir) and simulation box with polyelectrolyte chains, counterions and salt ions (polyelectrolyte solution). This allowed us to model Donnan equilibrium and partitioning of salt and counterions across membrane impermeable to polyelectrolyte chains. Our simulations have shown that the main contribution to the system osmotic pressure is due to salt ions and osmotically active counterions. The fraction of the condensed (osmotically inactive) counterions first increases with decreases in the solution ionic strength then it saturates. The reduced value of the system osmotic coefficient is a universal function of the ratio of the concentration of osmotically active counterions and salt concentration in salt reservoir. Simulation results are in a very good agreement with osmotic pressure measurements in sodium polystyrene sulfonate, DNA, polyacrylic acid, sodium polyanetholesulfonic acid, polyvinylbenzoic acid, and polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride solutions.

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