Density functional studies of solvation forces in hard sphere polymer solutions confined between adsorbing walls. I. Solvent effects and dependence on surface potential range.
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Solvation forces between large surfaces in athermal polymer solutions, in which both solvent particles and polymers are adsorbed at the surfaces, are studied with density functional theory. We investigate how the range of the surface potential affects the net interaction between the surfaces. Predictions from treatments in which the solvent is explicitly induced are compared with those obtained with more approximate models, where the solvent is either neglected, or enters the description implicitly. The results are interpreted via comparisons with simpler model systems. It is shown that a long-ranged surface potential, acting equally on monomers and solvent, leads to a solvent dominated repulsive solvation force, while polymer specific contributions dominate the net interactions when the adsorption potential has a short range. Effects of preferential polymer adsorption are also investigated. ©2003 American Institute of Physics.