The adsorption and viscoelastic properties of layers of a cationic polyelectrolyte (cationic starch, CS, with 2-hydroxy-3-trimethylammoniumchloride as the substituent) adsorbed from aqueous solutions (pH 7.5, added NaCl 0, 1, 100, and 500 mM) on silica were studied with a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D). Three different starches were investigated (weight-average molecular weights Mw ≈ 8.7 × 105 and 4.5 × 105 with degree of substitution DS = 0.75 and Mw ≈ 8.8 × 105 with DS = 0.2). At low ionic strength, the adsorbed layers are thin and rigid and the amount adsorbed can be calculated using the Sauerbrey equation. When the ionic strength is increased, significant changes take place in the amount of adsorbed CS and the viscoelasticity of the adsorbed layer. These changes were analyzed assuming that the layer can be described as a Voigt element on a rigid surface in contact with purely viscous solvent. It was found that CS with low charge density forms a thicker and more mobile layer with higher viscosity and elasticity than CS with high charge density. The polymers adsorbed on the silica even when the ionic strength was so high that electrostatic interactions were effectively screened. At this high ionic strength, it was possible to study the effect of molecular weight and molecular weight distribution of the CS on the properties of the adsorbed film. Increasing the molecular weight of CS resulted in a larger hydrodynamic thickness. CS with a narrow molecular weight distribution formed a more compact and rigid layer than broadly distributed CS, presumably due to the better packing of the molecules.
Tammelin, T., Merta, J., Johansson, LS., & Stenius, P. (2004). Viscoelastic properties of cationic starch adsorbed on quartz studied by QCM-D. Langmuir, 20(25), 10900–10909. https://doi.org/10.1021/la0487693