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Donnan Equilibria in Polymeric Micellar Systems with Weak Polyelectrolyte Shells: The Lowering of the pH Value

Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry
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When two electrolyte solutions are separated and only some of the ions can cross the boundary, the concentrations of these ions are different on both sides of the boundary. This is the well-known Donnan effect. When weak electrolytes are involved, the imbalance includes also hydrogen ions: there is a difference of pH across the boundary and the dissociation of nondiffusible weak electrolytes is suppressed. The effect is very pronounced when the concentration of the weak electrolyte is high and ionic strength is low. The significance of this phenomenon is discussed for polyelectrolyte solutions, and particularly for block copolymer micelles with weak polyelectrolyte shells. The effect is quite dramatic in the latter case.

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