Orientational ordering in the nematic phase of a polyethylene glycol-peptide conjugate in aqueous solution
Hamley, I.W., Krysmann, M.J., Newby, G.E., Castelletto, V. and Noirez, L. (2008) Orientational ordering in the nematic phase of a polyethylene glycol-peptide conjugate in aqueous solution. Physical Review E, 77 (6). 062901. ISSN 1539-3755
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.77.062901
The orientational ordering of the nematic phase of a polyethylene glycol (PEG)-peptide block copolymer in aqueous solution is probed by small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), with the sample subjected to steady shear in a Couette cell. The PEG-peptide conjugate forms fibrils that behave as semiflexible rodlike chains. The orientational order parameters (P) over bar (2) and (P) over bar (4) are obtained by modeling the data using a series expansion approach to the form factor of uniform cylinders. The method used is independent of assumptions on the form of the singlet orientational distribution function. Good agreement with the anisotropic two-dimensional SANS patterns is obtained. The results show shear alignment starting at very low shear rates, and the orientational order parameters reach a plateau at higher shear rates with a pseudologarithmic dependence on shear rate. The most probable distribution functions correspond to fibrils parallel to the flow direction under shear, but a sample at rest shows a bimodal distribution with some of the rodlike peptide fibrils oriented perpendicular to the flow direction.