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Probing Molecular Interactions of Comb-type Polymers in Air/Water/Solids Interfaces Open Access


Other title
Molecular Interactions
Comb-type Polymers
Surface Forces Apparatus
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Zhang, Ling
Supervisor and department
Zeng, Hongbo (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Chen, Jie (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Liu, Qingxia (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Zeng, Hongbo (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Over the past decade, comb-type copolymers have attracted much attention in polymer chemistry and physics, nanotechnology, bioengineering and industrial applications. Using a surface forces apparatus (SFA), the molecular and surface interactions of two different kinds of comb-type polymers, polystyrene-graft-polyethylene oxide (PS-g-PEO) and polycarboxylate ether (PCE), were investigated under different solution conditions. Long-range repulsive forces were measured between PS-g-PEO films which were due to the steric hindrance between swollen PEO brushes and could be well described by the Alexander–de Gennes (AdG) scaling theory. Molecular forces and rheology study of PCE-kaolinite suspension showed that PCE molecules could induce bridging forces between kaolinite surfaces at low polymer concentration while lead to steric repulsion at high concentration, affected by solution conditions (e.g., pH). The results provide important insights into fundamental understanding of molecular interaction mechanisms of comb-type polymers at air/water/solids interfaces and the development of novel functional polymers/coatings for engineering and biomedical applications.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
A version of chapter 4 has been published. L. Zhang, Q. Lu, Z. Xu, Q. Liu, H. Zeng 2012. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 378: 222–231.A version of chapter 3 has been submitted for publication. L. Zhang, H. Zeng, Q. Liu 2012. Journal of Physical and Chemistry, C (under review).

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