Aqueous Block Copolymer Systems. Self-association, Phase Behaviour and Partitioning of Biomolecules

Mårten Svensson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


The phase and partitioning behaviour of aqueous block copolymer systems has been studied. The block copolymers used in this work were built up of three blocks. The middle block was poly(propylene oxide) (PPO) and hydrophobic. The two outer blocks constisted of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) chains and less hydrophobic. The amphiphilic property of this PEO-PPO-PEO block copolymers enable self-association into micelles and formation of lyotropic liquid crystalline (LLC) phases. The formation of micelles in aqueous solution may be induced either by an increase in polymer concentration (critical micelle concentration) or by an increase in temperature (critical micelle temperature). It was found that the phase behaviour of ternary PEO-PPO-PEO/dextran T500/water systems was strongly affected by the temperature, which, in turn was attributed to the temperature-triggered micelle formation of the PEO-PPO-PEO polymers. Theoretical calculations based on Flory-Huggins theory for polymer solutions were in good agreement with the experimental findings. Binary (PEO-PPO-PEO/water) phase behaviour were studied experimentally and theoretically. For example, the experimental phase diagrams dislayed both normal and reverse hexagonal phases LLC phases, an unique feature for these type of systems. By using a heterogeneous lattice model, the free energy for the different phases was detrmined and by extracting two-phase regions, binary phase diagram was constructed. Ternary (PEO-PPO-PEO/water/oil) systems were studied with a heterogeneous lattice model. Five ordered phases were considered: normal cubic, normal hexagonal, lamellar, reverse hexagonal and reverse cubic and ternary phase diagrams were constructed. The lamellar phase was studied in more detail and the results; domain spacings, interfacial area for the block copolymer and the apolar domain thickness were discussed and in some cases compared to experimental findings. The population of loop-like and bridging conformations of the block copolymer in the lamellar plane was also investigated. The effect of temperature on partitioning of biomolecules (amino acids, peptides and proteins) in PEO-PPO-PEO/dextran T500/water systems was studied. Hydrophobic biomolecules predominantly partitioned to the PEO-PPO-PEO-rich phase and their partitioning behaviour was in most cases strongly influenced by the temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Chemistry
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1998 Oct 30
Publication statusPublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 1998-10-30
Time: 10:15
Place: Sal C, Chemical Center

External reviewer(s)

Name: Hatton, T Alan
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: MIT, Boston, USA


Article: I. Phase Behaviour in Aqueous Two-Phase Systems Containing Micelle- Forming Block CopolymersMårten Svensson, Folke Tjerneld and Per LinseMacromolecules, 1995, 28(10), 3597-3603

Article: II. Mean-Field Study of Interactions Between Block Copolymer Micelles and HomopolymersMårten Svensson and Per LinseMacromolecules, 1998, 31(4), 1427-1429

Article: III. Phase Behaviour and Microstructure in Binary Block Copolymer - Selective Solvent Systems: Experiments and TheoryMårten Svensson, Paschalis Alexandridis and Per LinseSubmitted to Macromolecules.

Article: IV. A Lattice Study of the phase behaviour in Ternary poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(propylene oxide)-poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO-PPO-PEO) Block Copolymer - Water - Oil SystemsMårten Svensson, Paschalis Alexandridis and Per LinseManuscript

Article: V. Partitioning of Hydrophobic Amino Acids and Oligopeptides in Aqueous Two-Phase System Containing Self-Aggregating Block Copolymer. Effects of Temperature, Salts and SurfactantsMårten Svensson, Fredrik Joabsson, Per Linse and Folke TjerneldJ. Chromatography A, 761 (1997) 91-101

Article: VI. Aqueous Two-Phase Systems Containing Self-Aggregating Block Copolymers. Partitioning of Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic BiomoleculesMårten Svensson, Kristina Berggren, Andres Veide and Folke TjerneldSubmitted to J.Chromatography A

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Physical Chemistry


  • block copolymer self-association partitioning phase behaviour
  • Physical chemistry
  • Fysikalisk kemi


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