J. Phys. II France
Volume 7, Numéro 4, April 1997
Page(s) 627 - 635
DOI: 10.1051/jp2:1997147
J. Phys. II France 7 (1997) 627-635

Microphase Separation Transition for Polyelectrolyte Gels in Poor Solvents

Konstantin B. Zeldovich1, Elena E. Dormidontova1, Alexei R. Khokhlov1 and Thomas A. Vilgis2

1  Physics Department, Moscow State University, 117234 Moscow, Russia
2  Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research, Postfach 3148, Ackermannweg 10, 55021 Mainz, Germany

(Received 29 July 1996, revised 22 November 1996, accepted 3 January 1997)

The microphase separation transition in the weakly charged polyelectrolyte gels immersed in poor solvent and undergoing collapse transition is studied in the weak crystallization approximation. The chain connectivity in the gel is taken into account via introducing "polarization" term first proposed by de Gennes. It is shown that in this case the gel can undergo multistage jump-like collapse where the intermediate states can have regular microstructures of different symmetry. The availability of numerous metastable states in the collapse region may lead to the pronounced hysteresis effects. These results are compared with some of the recent experimental findings.

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