Phase equilibrium and charge fractionation in polyelectrolyte solutions

Igor Erukhimovich, Monica Olvera De La Cruz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A new type of phase separation in the polyelectrolyte solutions consisting of several types of charged macromolecules differing in their degree of ionization is presented. Via a general thermodynamic consideration we show that even a small difference in the degree of ionization of otherwise equivalent high-molecular components results in their spatial separation occurring upon decreasing the temperature much earlier than precipitation of any of the pure components from the solution. Some implications of charge fractionation are discussed, including the separation of DNA (or RNA) strands interacting with different proteins and the appearance of heterogeneities in polyelectrolyte solutions of partially charged hydrophobic chains with poly-dispersed charge distributions such as sodium polystyrene sulfonate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3003-3009
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007


  • Biopolymers
  • Compatibility
  • Gels
  • Microstructure
  • Miscibility
  • Polyelectrolytes
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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