The nature of flexible linear polyelectrolytes in salt free solution: A molecular dynamics study

Stevens, Mark J.; Kremer, Kurt
July 1995
Journal of Chemical Physics;7/22/1995, Vol. 103 Issue 4, p1669
Academic Journal
We present results of molecular dynamics simulations of linear polyelectrolytes in solution. The fundamental model for polyelectrolytes in solution is studied. Specifically, simulations are performed for multichain systems of a flexible chain model of charged polymers. The full Coulomb interactions of the monomers and counterions are treated explicitly. Experimental measurements of the osmotic pressure and the structure factor are reproduced. The simulations reveal a new picture of the chain structure based on calculations of the structure factor, persistence length, end-to-end distance, etc. We present a detailed discussion of the chain structure and a comparison with present theories. In contrast to the predicted dilute limit of rodlike chains, we find that the chains have significant bending at very low densities. Furthermore, the chains contract significantly before they overlap. We also show that counterion condensation dramatically alters the chain structure. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.


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