We report an experimental study of rotational and translational diffusion and sedimentation of colloidal tracer spheres in semidilute solutions of the nonadsorbing semiflexible polymer xanthan. The tracers are optically anisotropic, permitting depolarized dynamic light scattering measurements without interference from the polymer background. The xanthan solutions behave rheologically like model semidilute polymeric solutions with long-lived entanglements. On the time scale of tracer motion the xanthan solutions are predominantly elastic. The generalized Stokes-Einstein relation describing the polymer solution as a continuous viscous fluid therefore severely overestimates the tracer hindrance. Instead, effective medium theory, describing the polymer solution as a homogeneous Brinkman fluid with a hydrodynamic screening length equal to the concentration-dependent static correlation length, is in excellent agreement with the tracer sedimentation and rotational diffusion coefficients. Rotational diffusion, however, is at the same time in good agreement with a simple model of a rotating sphere in a concentric spherical depletion cavity. Translational diffusion is faster than predicted for a Brinkman fluid, likely due to polymer depletion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Mathematical Physics