Electrophoresis of a Spherical Dispersion of Polyelectrolytes in a Salt-Free Solution
The electrophoretic behavior of a spherical dispersion of polyelectrolytes of arbitrary concentration is analyzed theoretically under a salt-free condition, that is, the liquid phase contains only counterions which come from the dissociation of the functional groups of polyelectrolytes. We show that, in general, the surface potential of a polyelectrolyte increases nonlinearly with its surface charge. A linear relation exists between them, however, when the latter is sufficiently small; and the more dilute the concentration of polyelectrolytes, the broader the range in which they are linearly correlated. If the amount of surface charge is sufficiently large, counterion condensation occurs, and the rate of increase of surface potential as the amount of surface charge increases declined. Also, it leads to an inverse in the perturbed potential near the surface of a polyelectrolyte, and its mobility decreases accordingly. For a fixed amount of surface charge, the lower the concentration of polyelectrolytes and/or the lower the valence of counterions, the higher the surface potential. The qualitative behavior of the mobility of a polyelectrolyte as the amount of its surface charge varies is similar to that of its surface charge.