Sodium dodecyl sulfate modulates the structure and rheological properties of Pluronic F108-poly(acrylic acid) coacervates)

Ziyuan Gong, Nicole S. Zacharia, Bryan D. Vogt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Micelles formed within coacervate phases can impart functional properties, but it is unclear if this micellization provides mechanical reinforcement of the coacervate whereby the micelles act as high functionality crosslinkers. Here, we examine how sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) influences the structure and properties of Pluronic F108-polyacrylic acid (PAA) coacervates as SDS is known to decrease the aggregation number of Pluronic micelles. Increasing the SDS concentration leads to larger water content in the coacervate and an increase in the relative concentration of PAA to the other solids. Rheological characterization with small angle oscillatory shear (SAOS) demonstrates that these coacervates are viscoelastic liquids with the moduli decreasing with the addition of the SDS. The loss factor (tan δ) initially increases linearly with the addition of SDS, but a step function increase in the loss factor occurs near the reported CMC of SDS. However, this change in rheological properties does not appear to be correlated with any large scale structural differences in the coacervate as determined by small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) with no signature of Pluronic micelles in the coacervate when SDS concentration is >4 mM during formation of the coacervate, which is less than that observed (6 mM SDS) in initial Pluronic F108 solution despite the higher polymer concentration in the coacervate. These results suggest that the mechanical properties of polyelectrolyte-non-ionic surfactant coacervates are driven by the efficicacy of binding between the complexing species driving the coacervate, which can be disrupted by competitive binding of the SDS to the Pluronic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-350
Number of pages11
JournalSoft matter
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 14 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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