Hydrogen bond network relaxation in aqueous polyelectrolyte solutions: the effect of temperature.
ABSTRACT Dielectric spectroscopy data over the range 100 MHz–40 GHz allow for a reliable analysis of two of the major relaxation phenomena for polyelectrolytes (PE) in water. Within this range, the dielectric relaxation of pure water is dominated by a near-Debye process at ν = 18.5 GHz corresponding to a relaxation time of τ = 8.4 ps at 25 °C. This mode is commonly attributed to the cooperative relaxation specific to liquids forming a hydrogen bond network (HBN) and arising from long range H-bond-mediated dipole–dipole interactions. The presence of charged polymers in water partially modifies the dielectric characteristics of the orientational water molecule relaxation due to a change of the dielectric constant of water surrounding the charges on the polyion chain. We report experimental results on the effect of the presence of a standard flexible polyelectrolyte (sodium polyacrylate) on the HBN relaxation in water for different temperatures, showing that the HBN relaxation time does not change by increasing the polyelectrolyte density in water, even if relatively high concentrations are reached (0.02 monomol l(−1) ≤ C ≤ 0.4 monomol l(−1)). We also find that the effect of PE addition on the HBN relaxation is not even a broadening of its distribution, rather a decrease of the spectral weight that goes beyond the pure volume fraction effect. This extra decrease is larger at low T and less evident at high T, supporting the idea that the correlation length of the water is less affected by the presence of charged flexible chains at high temperatures.