Influence of Constraints within a Cyclic Polymer on Solution Properties
journal contributionposted on 28.12.2017, 00:00 by Md. D. Hossain, James C. Reid, Derong Lu, Zhongfan Jia, Debra J. Searles, Michael J. Monteiro
Cyclic polymers with internal constraints provide new insight into polymer properties in solution and bulk and can serve as a model system to explain the stability and mobility of cyclic biomacromolecules. The model system used in this work consisted of cyclic polystyrene structures, all with a nearly identical molecular weight, designed with 0–3 constraints located at strategic sites within the cyclic polymer, with either 4 or 6 branch points. The total number of branch points (or arms) within the cyclic ranged from 0 to 18. Molecular dynamic (MD) simulations showed that as the number of arms increased within the cyclic structure, the radius of gyration and the hydrodynamic radius generally decreased, suggesting the greater number of constraints resulted in a more compact polymer chain. The simulations further showed that the excluded volume was much greater for the cyclics compared to a linear polymer at the same molecular weight. The spirocyclic, a structure consisting of three rings joined in series, showed significant excluded volume effects in agreement with experimental data; the reason for which is unclear at this stage. Interestingly, under a size exclusion chromatography flow, the radius of hydration for all the cyclic structures increased compared with the DLS data, and could be explained from the greater swelling of the rings perpendicular to the flow found from previous simulations on rings. This data suggests that the greater compactness, greater excluded volume and structural rearrangements under flow of constrained cyclic polymers could be used to provide a physical basis for understanding greater stability and activity of cyclic biological macromolecules.