The influence of added colloidal particles on the phase stability of polymer solutions is investigated theoretically. The polymer has an affinity to the particle surface. A mean-field lattice theory based on the Flory-Huggins theory is used to calculate the phase behavior in solutions containing a single polymer component and particles. The particles are described in two different ways. The first approach considers the surface free energy associated with added solid particles and the mixing entropy of the particles. In the second approach, the particles are simply modeled as large polymers. Both ways of describing the added particles show that the added particles decrease the stability of the polymer solution when the polymer-particle attraction is strong. A higher particle concentration enhances the effect. Experiments where polystyrene latex particles are added at different concentrations to aqueous dispersions of ethyl(hydroxyethyl)cellulose (EHEC) support the theoretical findings.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Physical Chemistry