Molecular dynamics study of the conformation, ion adsorption, diffusion, and water structure of soluble polymers in saline solutions

Gonzalo R. Quezada, Norman Toro, Jorge Saavedra, Pedro Robles, Iván Salazar, Alessandro Navarra, Ricardo I. Jeldres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Polymers have interesting physicochemical characteristics such as charge density, func-tionalities, and molecular weight. Such attributes are of great importance for use in industrial purposes. Understanding how these characteristics are affected is still complex, but with the help of molecular dynamics (MD) and quantum calculations (QM), it is possible to understand the behavior of polymers at the molecular level with great consistency. This study was applied to polymers derived from polyacrylamide (PAM) due to its great use in various industries. The polymers stud-ied include hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM), poly (2-acrylamido-2-methylpropanesulfonate) (PAMPS), polyacrylic acid (PAA), polyethylene oxide polymer (PEO), and guar gum polysaccharide (GUAR). Each one has different attributes, which help in understanding the effects on the polymer and the medium in which it is applied along a broad spectrum. The results include the conformation, diffusion, ion condensation, the structure of the water around the polymer, and interatomic polymer interactions. Such characteristics are important to selecting a polymer depending on the environment in which it is found and its purpose. The effect caused by salinity is particular to each polymer, where polymers with an explicit charge or polyelectrolytes are more susceptible to changes due to salinity, increasing their coiling and reducing their mobility in solution. This naturally reduces its ability to form polymeric bridges due to having a polymer with a smaller gyration radius. In contrast, neutral polymers are less affected in their structure, making them favorable in media with high ionic charges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3550
Issue number20
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Flocculation
  • Ion adsorption
  • Molecular dynamic
  • Salinity
  • Soluble polymers


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