Journal of Molecular Modeling

, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 1911–1918

Probing solvation decay length in order to characterize hydrophobicity-induced bead–bead attractive interactions in polymer chains

Original Paper


In this paper, we quantitatively demonstrate that exponentially decaying attractive potentials can effectively mimic strong hydrophobic interactions between monomer units of a polymer chain dissolved in aqueous solvent. Classical approaches to modeling hydrophobic solvation interactions are based on invariant attractive length scales. However, we demonstrate here that the solvation interaction decay length may need to be posed as a function of the relative separation distances and the sizes of the interacting species (or beads or monomers) to replicate the necessary physical interactions. As an illustrative example, we derive a universal scaling relationship for a given solute–solvent combination between the solvation decay length, the bead radius, and the distance between the interacting beads. With our formalism, the hydrophobic component of the net attractive interaction between monomer units can be synergistically accounted for within the unified framework of a simple exponentially decaying potential law, where the characteristic decay length incorporates the distinctive and critical physical features of the underlying interaction. The present formalism, even in a mesoscopic computational framework, is capable of incorporating the essential physics of the appropriate solute-size dependence and solvent-interaction dependence in the hydrophobic force estimation, without explicitly resolving the underlying molecular level details.


Hydrophobicity Solvation Collapse 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringIndian Institute of TechnologyKharagpurIndia

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