A coarse-grained model for polyethylene glycol in bulk water and at a water/air interface.

TitleA coarse-grained model for polyethylene glycol in bulk water and at a water/air interface.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsPrasitnok K, Wilson MR
JournalPhysical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP
Volume15
Issue40
Pagination17093-104
Date Published2013 Oct 28
Abstract

A coarse-grained model for polyethylene glycol (PEG) in water has been developed using a combination of the iterative Boltzmann inversion (IBI) methodology and a suitable coarse-grained water potential. The combined coarse-grained model is shown to be effective in reproducing the properties of single chains in bulk water and multiple chains across a series of chain lengths and concentrations, and is transferable to PEG chains at a water/air interface. Good agreement is achieved with both experiment and reference atomistic simulations in an explicit solvent. Simulations of a single chain in aqueous solution yield a molecular weight (MW)-radius of gyration (Rg) relation that compares favourably with the reported scaling law from experiment. Simulations of multiple chains across a wide concentration range show no concentration dependence of Rg, in agreement with previous atomistic simulations. The model we develop is shown to be transferable between polymer in bulk water and at a water/air interface. For interfacial simulations, PEG chains are found to spontaneously migrate to the surface and adsorb to form a thin surface layer, which thickens with increasing surface concentration. The point at which the surface is fully saturated with polymer, and the polymer layer thicknesses obtained from simulations, are both in good agreement with experimental findings. At high surface concentrations, when the surface is fully saturated with polymer, ethylene oxide (EO) segments are found to extend into the water subphase as loop and tail conformations, with this extension increasing with further increases in the surface concentration. The coarse-grained model is noted to provide very large increases in simulation speed, with equilibration times of <1000× the reference atomistic models. We also consider a number of different coarse-grained models for water in this study, showing that the CSJ model adopted in this work [Chiu et al., J. Chem. Theory Comput., 2010, 6, 851] is far superior for studying water at a water/air surface, than many of the previous coarse-grained models of water.

DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0074108
Alternate JournalPhys Chem Chem Phys