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  1. In addition to the repulsive and attractive interaction forces described by Derjaguin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek (DLVO) theory, many charged colloid systems are stabilized by non-DLVO contributions stemming from specific material attributes. Here, we investigate non-DLVO contributions to the stability of polymer colloids stemming from the intra-particle glass transition temperature ( T g ). Flash nanoprecipitation is used to fabricate nanoparticles (NPs) from a library of polymers and dispersion stability is studied in the presence of both hydrophilic and hydrophobic salts. When adding KCl, stability undergoes a discontinuous decrease as T g increases above room temperature, indicating greater stability of rubbery NPs over glassy NPs. Glassy NPs are also found to interact strongly with hydrophobic phosphonium cations (PR 4 + ), yielding charge inversion and intermediate aggregation while rubbery NPs resist ion adsorption. Differences in the lifetime of ionic structuration within mobile surface layers is presented as a potential mechanism underlying the observed phenomenon.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 8, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 10, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 25, 2023
  4. Functionalized cellulosics have shown promise as naturally derived thermoresponsive gelling agents. However, the dynamics of thermally induced phase transitions of these polymers at the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) are not fully understood. Here, with experiments and theoretical considerations, we address how molecular architecture dictates the mechanisms and dynamics of phase transitions for cellulose ethers. Above the LCST, we show that hydroxypropyl substituents favor the spontaneous formation of liquid droplets, whereas methyl substituents induce fibril formation through diffusive growth. In celluloses which contain both methyl and hydroxypropyl substituents, fibrillation initiates after liquid droplet formation, suppressing the fibril growth to a sub-diffusive rate. Unlike for liquid droplets, the dissolution of fibrils back into the solvated state occurs with significant thermal hysteresis. We tune this hysteresis by altering the content of substituted hydroxypropyl moieties. This work provides a systematic study to decouple competing mechanisms during the phase transition of multi-functionalized macromolecules.