, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 237-244

Polyelectrolyte gels in poor solvent: Elastic moduli

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We study theoretically using scaling arguments the behavior of polyelectrolyte gels in poor solvents. Following the classical picture of Katchalsky, our approach is based on single-chain elasticity but it accounts for the recently proposed pearl necklace structure of polyelectrolytes in poor solvents. The elasticity both of gels at swelling equilibrium and of partially swollen gels is studied when parameters such as the ionic strength or the fraction of charged monomers are varied. Our theory could be useful to interpret recent experiments performed in Strasbourg that show that if identical gel samples are swollen to the same extent at different pH the sample with the highest charge has the lowest shear modulus.

Received 7 April 2000