On the sensitivity of alginate rheology to composition†
The linear response of alginate-phenyl boronic acid (Alg-PBA) esters shows a universal, composition-independent viscoelastic fluid-like behaviour. Reversible association of alginates governs their rheology at all compositions (viz. at all alginate concentrations and solution pH). However, their high strain behaviour is very sensitive to composition. Tuning composition affords liquids that neck to form filaments capable of being drawn to large elongations without failure. We interpret our data by invoking strain-dependent association and dissociation rates for the alginates. High association rates at high strain result in materials with viscoelastic liquid like behaviour.