Unusual thermal diffusion in polymer solutions.
ABSTRACT Thermal diffusion forced Rayleigh scattering results on thermal diffusion of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) in ethanol/water mixtures are presented. In water-rich solvent mixtures, PEO is found to migrate towards regions of lower temperature. This is typical for polymer solutions and corresponds to a positive Soret coefficient of PEO. In solvent mixtures with low water content, however, the polymer is found to migrate towards higher temperatures, corresponding to a negative Soret coefficient of PEO in ethanol-rich solutions. To our knowledge, this is the first observed sign change of the Soret coefficient of a polymer in solution. We also present a simple lattice model for the polymer solvent system and calculate Soret coefficients with statistical mechanics methods. The calculated values agree qualitatively with the experimental results.
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ABSTRACT: The thermal lens effect produced in binary mixtures of water and ethanol has been investigated. It is shown that the sensitivity of the thermal lens method upon the addition of ethanol in water varies as the temperature-dependent refractive index gradient to thermal conductivity ratio of the mixture. The dependence of k and dn/dT upon the ethanol volume fraction follows a second-order and fourth-order polynomial, respectively, and cannot be precisely predicted using the additive rule. Moreover, depending on the experimental conditions and the mixture composition, the temperature gradient produced subsequently to relaxation of the excited species induces mutual migration of the solvent molecules and the formation of a concentration gradient in the irradiated area. This effect, known as the Soret effect, can locally change the thermo-optical properties of the solution and produce an additional signal, especially when steady-state experiments are done. This may result in errors as large as 20% when quantitative informations have to be derived from experimental data.Spectrochimica Acta Part A Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 06/2001; 57(6):1295-301. · 1.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The isotope effect in thermal diffusion (Soret effect) of benzene+cyclohexane mixtures has been investigated by a holographic grating technique. The Soret coefficient can be split into additive contributions. One contribution, the isotope effect, stems from the differences of both mass and moment of inertia, and is independent of composition. An additional "chemical" contribution depends on concentration and even changes its sign at a benzene mole fraction x(benz) approximately 0.7. The mass effect is in agreement with molecular dynamics calculations: the heavier component migrates to the cold side.Physical Review Letters 08/2001; 87(5):055901. · 7.94 Impact Factor
Unusual Thermal Diffusion in Polymer Solutions
Berend-Jan de Gans,1,*Rio Kita,1,†SimoneWiegand,1,2,‡and Jutta Luettmer-Strathmann3,x
1Max Planck Institut fu ¨r Polymerforschung, Ackermannweg 10, D-55128 Mainz, Germany
2Forschungszentrum Ju ¨lich GmbH, IFF-Weiche Materie, D-52428 Ju ¨lich, Germany
3Department of Physics, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio 44325-4001, USA
(Received 10 August 2002; published 9 December 2003)
Thermal diffusion forced Rayleigh scattering results on thermal diffusion of poly(ethylene oxide)
(PEO) in ethanol/water mixtures are presented. In water-rich solvent mixtures, PEO is found to migrate
towards regions of lower temperature. This is typical for polymer solutions and corresponds to a
positive Soret coefficient of PEO. In solvent mixtures with low water content, however, the polymer is
found to migrate towards higher temperatures, corresponding to a negative Soret coefficient of PEO in
ethanol-rich solutions.To our knowledge, this is the first observed sign change of the Soret coefficient of
a polymer in solution. We also present a simple lattice model for the polymer solvent system and
calculate Soret coefficients with statistical mechanics methods. The calculated values agree qualita-
tively with the experimental results.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.91.245501 PACS numbers: 61.25.Hq, 61.43.Bn, 66.10.Cb
A temperature gradient applied to a fluid mixture gen-
erally induces net mass flows which lead to the forma-
tion of concentration gradients. This effect is known
as thermal diffusion or the Ludwig-Soret effect [1,2]. In
the stationary state where the mass flows vanish, the
magnitude of the effect is described by the Soret co-
ci0?1 ? ci0?
where ciis the mass fraction of component i, ci0is its
equilibrium value, and where T is the temperature. ST;i
is positive if component i moves to the low temperature
region. Since the massfractions add up to unity,P
a K-component mixture has K ? 1 independent Soret
Typically, the Soret coefficient of the heavier compo-
nent of a binary liquid mixture is positive. This is not
always the case, however, and the Soret coefficients in
some low molecular weight liquid mixtures are known to
change sign . A sign change of the Soret coefficient
was also observed in very recent thermophoresis experi-
ments on protein solutions . While there is no theory
which reliably predicts the sign of the Soret effect in
liquid mixtures, approaches based on the ‘‘heat of trans-
fer’’ concept  suggest that molecular interactions play
an important role. In recent experiments, Debuschewitz
and Ko ¨hler  identified two distinct contributions to the
Soret coefficients of isotope substituted liquid mixtures
of benzene and cyclohexane. The first contribution, due
to differences in the molecules’ masses and moments of
inertia, was found to be independent of composition of
the mixture. The second, reflecting chemical differences
of the molecules, was found to vary with composition and
change sign, inducing a sign change of the total Soret
With only two known exceptions, polymers in solution
conform to the rule that the heavier component migrates
to the colder regions of the fluid. Giglio and Vendramini
 found a negative Soret coefficient for poly(vinyl al-
cohol) in water.Very recently, we reported our first ther-
mal diffusion results for poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) in
ethanol-rich ethanol/water mixtures which indicated that
the polymer migrates to the warmer region in these
mixed solvents . In this work, we investigate system-
atically the Soret effect of PEO in ethanol/water mix-
tures. We expect interesting thermal diffusion properties
for this system, since the interactions between the poly-
mer and the two solvents are very different. Hydrogen
bonding makes water an excellent solvent for PEO at
room temperature while PEO is insoluble in ethanol.
Because of the biocompatibility of PEO, this system is
also relevant for biological applications (cf. ).
Experiment.—We measured Soret coefficients with a
holographic grating technique called thermal diffusion
forced Rayleigh scattering (TDFRS) with heterodyne
detection and active phase tracking . The principle of
TDFRS is analogous to ordinary forced Rayleigh scatter-
ing: An intensity grating is created by the interference of
two laser beams. A trace amount of inert absorbing dye
added to the sample converts the intensity grating within
microseconds into a temperature grating, which is con-
verted into a concentration grating within milliseconds
by the effect of thermal diffusion. Both temperature and
composition grating contribute to a refractive index grat-
ing readout by Bragg diffraction of a third laser beam.
For a binary mixture, the heterodyne signal intensity
reflects a single concentration mode whose time constant
and amplitude are related to the mass-diffusion and Soret
coefficient of the mixture, respectively . For a polymer
in a mixed solvent, there are two concentration modes
with widely separated time constants. The normalized
PH YSICA LR EVI EWL ET T ERS
12 DECEMBER 2003
VOLUME 91, NUMBER 24
2003 The American Physical Society245501-1
heterodyne signal intensity ?het?t? for the time after the
intensity grating has been switched on is derived for the
PEO/ethanol/water system in Ref.  and given by
?het?t? ? 1 ?
iSTici?1 ? ci?
? ?1 ? e?q2Dit?;
where t is the time, n is the index of refraction, and q
is the grating wave number. Diand ST;i, i ? 0;1, denote
the mass-diffusion and Soret coefficients, respectively,
where i ? 0 refers to the polymer in the mixed solvent
while i ? 1 refers to the solvent mixture. The contrast
factors multiplying the exponential terms contain deriva-
tives of the index of refraction, which are determined
independently with a Michelson interferometer operating
at a wavelength of 632.8 nm. Hence, mass-diffusion and
Soret coefficients of the ternary PEO/ethanol/water mix-
tures can be determined from the time constants and
amplitudes of the normalized heterodyne signal.
The PEO in our experiments had a molecular weight
of Mw? 2:65 ? 105gmol?1with a polydispersity PD ?
1:1. All samples were semidilute solutions containing
5:0 ? 0:1 gL?1PEO. Fifteen different solvent mixtures
were studied, the water content varying between 5% and
100% by weight. A trace amount of dye (quinizarin,
Sigma-Aldrich) wasaddedtothesamples (opticaldensity
1–2 cm?1). As for PEO in pure water basantolyellow 215
(BASF) was used. Adsorption of the dyes on PEO does
not occur as their absorption spectrum remains un-
Figure 1 shows typical normalized heterodyne signals
as a function of time obtained for three different solvent
compositions. The inset shows the two clearly separated
decays for the 50 wt% mixture on a logarithmic time
scale. Analysis of the amplitude and the decay time of the
fast mode leads to the same values for the Soret coeffi-
cient of water as obtained from measurements of binary
ethanol/water mixtures . This confirms that the fast
mode reflects the thermal diffusive behavior of the binary
solvent mixture while the slow mode corresponds to the
establishment of a concentration gradient of PEO in the
solvent mixture. For long times, the heterodyne signals in
Fig. 1 reflect the slow mode, which is seen to decrease
with time for solvent compositions of 15:02 wt% and
50 wt% water. This indicates a negative Soret coefficient
of PEO in mixtures with low water content. In contrast,
the signal of PEO in pure water shows an increase with
time, corresponding to a positive Soret coefficient of PEO
in water. Figure 2 shows the Soret coefficient of PEO in
ethanol/water as a function of water weight fraction. We
observe a sign change of STof PEO in ethanol/water
mixtures at a weight fraction of 83%. To our knowledge,
this is the first observation of a sign change of the Soret
coefficient of a polymer in solution. In pure ethanol/water
mixtures withup to 25 wt%water,the signal contribution
of the Soret effect is negligible compared to the thermal
contribution [6,10]. Neglecting the solvent contribution to
the thermal diffusion leads to 6%–10% smaller values for
STof PEO in ethanol/water mixtures, which is just barely
outside the error bars . In the middle concentration
range, the influence of the solvent mixture is much
stronger and the deviations exceed 30% and more .
Theory.—In order to investigate the origin of the un-
usual experimental findings, we have developed a simple
lattice model for a polymer chain in a mixed, compress-
ible solvent . We consider a simple cubic lattice of N
sites. The polymer chain occupies N0contiguous sites,
while the two types of solvent particles occupy N1and N2
single sites, respectively, and N3sites remain unoccupied,
neighbor sites are described by interaction energies ?ij,
i;j 2 f0;1;2g. In aqueous solutions, hydrogen bonding
between PEO and water plays an important role
(cf. ). In order to account for these specific interac-
tions, each elementary cube representing water is as-
sumed to have one special face. If this face is exposed
to a polymer segment, the interaction energy is ?01;s
(strongly attractive); otherwise it is ?01;n(nonspecific).
i?0Ni. Interactions between occupied nearest-
a solution of PEO in ethanol/water [15:02 wt% H2O (?),
50wt% (4), 100wt% (?)]. The inset shows the two decays for
50 wt% mixture ethanol/water versus logarithm of the time.
Typical normalized heterodyne diffraction signal for
function of water weight fraction.
Soret coefficient ST of PEO in ethanol/water as a
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From an exact enumeration of all self-avoiding random walks of length N0? 1 on a simple cubic lattice (cf. ), we
determine the number c?m? of chain conformations with m segment pair contacts and the average chain dimensions as a
function of m. In this work N0? 17. Under a random mixing approximation for all but the polymer contacts, the
canonical partition function for the system can be written as
??N ? nn? N0
??N ? nn? N0? ?N1? n1?
? e???m?00?n2?02??5e???01;n? e???01;s?n1e??Er;
where ? ? 1=kBT, kB is Boltzmann’s constant, nn?
4N0? 2 ? 2m is the number of nearest-neighbor sites of
the polymer which are occupied by ni, i 2 f1;2;3g, sol-
vent particles and voids. The square brackets around the
summation indices indicate that the summation is per-
formed consistent with the available nearest-neighbor
sites and the total filling of the lattice. The energy Er
denotesthe contribution tothetotalenergyduetosolvent-
solvent interactions evaluated in random mixing approxi-
mation . In the absence of the polymer, Z reduces to
the lattice fluid partition function of a compressible bi-
nary mixture of single site particles . By performing
partial summations over the terms in Eq. (3), we compute
the average radius of gyration R2
used to characterize solvent quality (see Fig. 3). The
pressure P of the system is calculated from ?vP ?
?@lnZ=@N?Ni;i?3, where v is the volume of one lattice
site. In this work, we retain the system-dependent pa-
rameters determined in Ref.  except for ?ws, the en-
ergy of ethanol-water interactions. Originally, ?wswas
estimated from the geometric mean approximation. Here,
we determined a value of ?ws? ?3600 J=mol from a
comparison with tabulated values for the density of
ethanol-water mixtures , weighted to ensure a good
gof the chain, which is
fit at high water concentrations. In Fig. 3 we present
graphs for the radius of gyration of the PEO chain. The
chain expands (solvent quality improves) with increasing
water content of the solution, in qualitative agreement
with the experimental data  presented in the inset. For
PEO in ethanol, the chain dimensions increase with in-
creasing temperature while they decrease with tempera-
ture for PEO in water, in agreement with observed
changes in solvent quality cf. Ref. .
In order to investigate the Soret effect, we consider a
system divided into two chambers of equal size that are
maintained at slightly different
Particles are free to move between the chambers, which
do not otherwise interact. If the pressure difference be-
tween the chambers is small enough to be neglected, the
Soret coefficient can be determined from the difference
in composition of the solutions in the two chambers .
Consider a single-chain system that is divided into two
chambers, A and B, with slightly different temperatures,
TA> TB. Under the assumption that the chambers are
noninteracting, the partition function of thewhole system
is a product of the partition functions of the individual
chambers, ZAZB. The chambers are represented by latti-
ces with Na, a 2 fA;Bg sites and occupation numbers Na
i 2 f0;...;3g, where N ? NA? NBand NB
The temperature difference employed here, ?T ?
10?4K, is sufficiently small to neglect thermal expansion
and we set NA? NB? N=2. If the particles are allowed
to move freely between the chambers, the sum Q of all
two-box configurations is given by
i? Ni? NA
ig? ? Q0;A? Q0;B;
where the square brackets have the same meaning as
previously. Q0;Aand Q0;Brepresent the sums of states
with the polymer in chambers A and B, respectively.
The fraction Q0;A=Q is the probability for finding the
polymer in chamber A. A Taylor expansion shows that,
to first order in the temperature difference ?T, this proba-
bility is determined by a difference in internal energy
hUnopi ? hUpoli
Here hUnopi and hUpoli are the internal energies of two
chambers at the same temperature, averaged over all
in ethanol/water mixtures. The left panel shows calculated
chain dimensions as a function of solvent composition at
temperature T ? 293 K, pressure P ? 0:1 MPa, and a PEO
concentration of 5 gL?1. Experimental data from static light
scattering  are presented in the inset. The right panel shows
the temperature variation at constant pressure of the calculated
chain dimensions of PEO in the two pure solvents ethanol and
water. The dashed line indicates the chain dimensions, R2
of the isolated 17 bead chain at the ? temperature of the infinite
Radius of gyration squared, R2
g, of short PEO chains
PH YSICA LR EVI EWL ET T ERS
12 DECEMBER 2003
VOLUME 91, NUMBER 24
configurations of particles, where the polymer is confined
to one of the chambers. Results for Q0;A=Q ? 1=2 calcu-
lated from the sum of states are presented in Fig. 4. For
low water concentrations, the polymer is more likely to be
found in the higher temperature chamber while the op-
posite is true for high water concentrations. The inset
of the figure shows lattice model estimates, ST;Lattice, for
the Soret coefficients of PEO obtained by monitoring the
composition of each chamber during calculation of the
sum of states, Eq. (4). Our simple lattice model, which
takes only conformational contributions to thermodiffu-
sion into account, uses short chains with parameters to
emulate large chains, and neglects hydrogen bonding
between solvent molecules, cannot be expected to yield
quantitatively correct results. However, the calculated
values for ST;Lattice initially decrease with increasing
water content of the solvent, go through a minimum,
and exhibit a change in sign of the Soret coefficient at
high water content of the solution, in qualitative agree-
ment with the experimental data.
Discussion.—Our experimental and theoretical inves-
tigation of PEO in ethanol/water mixtures gives some
insight into conditions that lead to unusual thermodiffu-
sion in polymer solutions. The experimental data pre-
sented in Figs. 1 and 2 and the calculated results
presented in Figs. 3 and 4 illustrate the role of solvent
quality. Positive Soret coefficients are observed for PEO
in pure water, which is an excellent solvent, while nega-
tive Soret coefficients are observed for low water content
of the solution, that is under poorer solvent conditions.
The negative Soret coefficient reported  for poly(vinyl
alcohol) in water at 25?C agrees with our findings since
the system is very close to poor solvent conditions .
Our investigation leads us to expect other systems to
yield changes in the sign of polymer Soret coefficients.
For example, a solution of a copolymer in a single sol-
vent may change sign as a function of composition of
the copolymer, if the chains are composed of two types
of segments, one with highly attractive and one with
net repulsive segment-solvent interactions. For the PEO/
ethanol/water system studied here, hydrogen bonding
plays a most important role. The Soret coefficient of
PEO changes sign at a solvent composition, where large
structural changes occur in binary mixtures of ethanol
and water .We are currently investigating this aspect
in more detail.
The authors would like to thank Cindy Leppla,
Thomas Wagner,PetraRa ¨der,
Christine Rosenauer for assistance with the experiments
and Florian Mu ¨ller-Plathe and Mark Taylor for helpful
discussions. Financial support through the National
Science Foundation (DMR-0103704), the Ohio Board of
Regents (R5413), the Petroleum Research Fund (36559-
GB7), and the Research Corporation (CC5228) is grate-
Beate Mu ¨ller, and
*Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org
†Electronic address: email@example.com
‡Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org
xElectronic address: email@example.com
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in the higher-temperature chamber as a function of water
content of the solution for T ? 293 K, ?T ? 10?4K. The inset
shows the lattice model predictions for the Soret coefficient and
the experimental data reported in this work.
Excess probability Q0;A=Q ? 1=2 to find the polymer
PH YSICA L R EVI EWL ET T ERS
12 DECEMBER 2003
VOLUME 91, NUMBER 24