Polyelectrolyte

Definition - What does Polyelectrolyte mean?

A polyelectrolyte is a polymer of electrolytes with several repeating chain units. Polyelectrolytes have properties of both electrolytes and polymers, and have a high molecular weight. Due to this and the fact that polyelectrolytes are composed of a single type of monomer subunit charge, they are often used to reduce or prevent corrosion on metallic substrate surfaces.

Corrosionpedia explains Polyelectrolyte

Polyelectrolytes are often divided into three subunit types depending on the primary purpose of their application. These units are:

  1. Polycations
  2. Polyanions
  3. Polysalts

They are similarly subdivided into typical electrolytes (acids, bases and salts). However, the output of a polyacid (polyanion) with a monomeric base and vice versa is called a polysalt. Like regular salts, they are electrically conductive yet are highly viscous due to their polymer nature.

The corrosion of certain steels under anodic conditions can be treated by the application of a layer of a polyelectrolyte complex. In research studies, scans over a wide corrosion-prone substrate region and measurements in the pitting region show a high degree of effectiveness of polyelectrolyte multilayers, characterized by moisture resistance and corrosion control, despite ion permeability.

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