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dc.contributor.authorBlanco, Pablo M.
dc.contributor.authorMadurga, Sergio
dc.contributor.authorNarambuena, Claudio F.
dc.contributor.authorMas i Pujadas, Francesc
dc.contributor.authorGarcés, Josep Lluís
dc.description.abstractThis work addresses the role of charge regulation (CR) and the associated fluctuations in the conformational and mechanical properties of weak polyelectrolytes. Due to CR, changes in the pH-value modifies the average macromolecular charge and conformational equilibria. A second effect is that, for a given average charge per site, fluctuations can alter the intensity of the interactions by means of correlation between binding sites. We investigate both effects by means of Monte Carlo simulations at constant pH-value, so that the charge is a fluctuating quantity. Once the average charge per site is available, we turn off the fluctuations by assigning the same average charge to every site. A constant charge MC simulation is then performed. We make use of a model which accounts for the main fundamental aspects of a linear flexible polyelectrolyte that is, proton binding, angle internal rotation, bond stretching and bending. Steric excluded volume and differentiated treatment for short-range and long-range interactions are also included. This model can be regarded as a kind of “minimal” in the sense that it contains a minimum number of parameters but still preserving the atomistic detail. It is shown that, if fluctuations are activated, gauche state bond probabilities increase and the persistence length decreases, so that the polymer becomes more folded. Macromolecular stretching is also analyzed in presence of CR (the charge depends on the applied force) and without CR (the charge is fixed to the value at zero force). The analysis of the low force scaling behavior concludes that Pincus exponent becomes pH-dependent. Both, with and without CR, a transition from 1/2 at high pH-values (phantom chain) to 3/5 at low pH-values (Pincus regime) is observed. Finally, the intermediate force stretching regime is investigated. It is found that CR induces a moderate influence in the force-extension curves and persistence length (which in this force regime becomes force-dependent). It is thus concluded that the effect of CR on the stretching curves is mainly due to the changes in the average charge at zero force. It is also found that, for the cases studied, the effect of steric excluded volume is almost irrelevant compared to electrostatic interactions.ca_ES
dc.description.sponsorshipP.M.B., S.M., J.L.G. and F.M. acknowledge the financial support from Generalitat de Catalunya (Grants 2017SGR1033, 2017SGR1329 and XrQTC), and Spanish Structures of Excellence María de Maeztu program through (Grant MDM-2017–0767). J.L.G. also acknowledges the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (project CTM2016-78798-C2-1-P). F.M. and S.M. acknowledge the funding of the EU project 8SEWP-HORIZON 2020 (692146). P.M.B. also acknowledges the financial support from grant (FI-2017) of Generalitat de Catalunya. C.F.N. acknowledges the support from Universidad Tecnológica Nacional of Argentina under project PID 5173.ca_ES
dc.relation.isformatofReproducció del document publicat a:
dc.relation.ispartofPolymers, 2019, vol. 11, núm. 12, article number 1962, p. 1-18ca_ES
dc.rightscc-by, (c) Blanco, Pablo M. et al., 2019ca_ES
dc.subjectCharge regulationca_ES
dc.subjectCharge fluctuationsca_ES
dc.subjectBinding equilibriaca_ES
dc.subjectConformational equilibriaca_ES
dc.titleRole of charge regulation and fluctuations in the conformational and mechanical properties of weak flexible polyelectrolytesca_ES

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