pH-Dependence of the Properties of Hydrophobically Modified Polyvinylamine
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A series of N-alkyl or N-benzyl substituted polyvinylamines (PVAm) were prepared and the properties of aqueous solutions were measured as functions of pH. The polymer solutions showed almost no surface activity under acidic conditions whereas surface tension was reduced to 40-50 mN/m around pH 9. Increasing either the degree of hydrophobic substitution or the hydrophobic chain length lowered the pH at which surface tension lowering was observed. Hydrophobic substitution also shifted plots of the degree of ionization versus pH toward lower pH which means lower pH values were required to achieve a given value of polymer charging. The hydrophobically modified PVAm associated in water giving species whose apparent diameter measured by dynamic light scattering decreased with increasing pH, whereas the electrophoretic mobilities of the associated species increased with decreasing pH. Although many hydrophobically modified and pH sensitive polymers have been described in the literature for applications in biomaterials, drug release and as pH sensitive surfactants, the hydrophobically modified PVAms are particularly attractive because they are easily prepared from commercially available polyvinylamines.
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