Properties of hydrophobically modified polyacrylamide with low molecular weight and interaction with surfactant in aqueous solution



Hydrophobically modified polyacrylamide (HMPAM), with a molecular weight of 104 g/mol, was studied using a range of rheological methods and dynamic light scattering (DLS). DLS measurements indicate that the association of the modified polymer begins at low concentration. The modified polymer with high substitution forms transient networks below the critical concentration, but the networks are disrupted by the micelles formed by the polymer itself, and the networks do not contribute to viscosity enhancement. The modified polymers exhibited surface activity, and so they may be regarded as nonionic polymeric surfactants rather than thickeners. On the other hand, HMPAM is shown to interact with the surfactant SDS while PAM is inert to SDS. In the hydrophobic domains, it undergoes a surfactant-induced association process; in the hydrophobe-surfactant transition regions, the surfactant binds to the polymer in a noncooperative way and forms a polymer–surfactant complex. Contracted polymer chains begin to extend because of electrostatic repulsion, which can overcome the association at surfactant domains. The conformation of HMPAM polymer chains could be controlled by adding a specific amount of surfactant. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 100: 4348–4360, 2006