Water clustering in glassy polymers. Academic Article uri icon


  • In this study, water solubility and water clustering in several glassy polymers, including poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), poly(styrene) (PS), and poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP), were measured using both quartz spring microbalance (QSM) and Fourier transform infrared-attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR) spectroscopy. Specifically, QSM was used to determine water solubility, while FTIR-ATR spectroscopy provided a direct, molecular-level measurement of water clustering. The Flory-Huggins theory was employed to obtain a measure of water-polymer interaction and water solubility, through both prediction and regression, where the theory failed to predict water solubility in both PMMA and PVP. Furthermore, a comparison of water clustering between direct FTIR-ATR spectroscopy measurements and predictions from the Zimm-Lundberg clustering analysis produced contradictory results. The failure of the Flory-Huggins theory and Zimm-Lundberg clustering analysis to describe water solubility and water clustering, respectively, in these glassy polymers is in part due to the equilibrium constraints under which these models are derived in contrast to the nonequilibrium state of glassy polymers. Additionally, FTIR-ATR spectroscopy results were compared to temperature-dependent diffusivity data, where a correlation between the activation energy for diffusion and the measured water clustering was observed.

published proceedings

  • J Phys Chem B

author list (cited authors)

  • Davis, E. M., & Elabd, Y. A.

citation count

  • 51

complete list of authors

  • Davis, Eric M||Elabd, Yossef A

publication date

  • September 2013