Thermodynamics predicts a stable microdroplet phase in polymer-gel mixtures undergoing elastic phase separation

Abstract

We study the thermodynamics of binary mixtures with the volume fraction of the minority component less than the amount required to form a flat interface and show that the surface tension dominated equilibrium phase of the mixture forms a single macroscopic droplet. Elastic interactions in gel-polymer mixtures stabilize a phase with multiple droplets. Using a mean-field free energy we compute the droplet size as a function of the interfacial tension, Flory parameter, and elastic moduli of the gel. Our results illustrate the role of elastic interactions in dictating the phase behavior of biopolymers undergoing liquid-liquid phase separation.

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Paper
Submitted
15 Aug 2022
Accepted
22 Sep 2022
First published
23 Sep 2022
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Soft Matter, 2022, Accepted Manuscript

Thermodynamics predicts a stable microdroplet phase in polymer-gel mixtures undergoing elastic phase separation

S. Biswas, B. Mukherjee and B. Chakrabarti, Soft Matter, 2022, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/D2SM01101H

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