Statistical description of co-nonsolvency suppression at high pressures
We present an application of Flory-type theory of a flexible polymer chain dissolved in a binary mixture of solvents to theoretical description of co-nonsolvency. We show that our theoretical predictions are in good quantitative agreement with the recently published MD simulation results for the conformational behavior of a Lennard-Jones flexible chain in a binary mixture of the Lennard-Jones fluids. We show that our theory is able to describe co-nonsolvency suppression through pressure enhancement to extremely high values recently discovered in experiments and reproduced by full atomistic MD simulations. By analysing the co-solvent concentration in the internal polymer volume at different pressure values, we speculate that this phenomenon is caused by the suppression of the co-solvent preferential solvation of the polymer backbone at the rather high pressure imposed. We show that when the co-solvent-induced coil–globule transition takes place, the entropy and enthalpy contributions to the solvation free energy abruptly decrease, while the solvation free energy remains continuous.