Polyelectrolytes are chemical, covalently-bond polymers with ionizable groups as well as ionic sur- factants which assemble into wormlike micelles and are thus physical polymers in thermal equilibrium. They have a wide range of application, e. g. as superabsorbers or in liquid soaps. Due to the charges a number of properties like the viscosity or the static structure factor are remarkably different from neutral polymers. It has recently been shown that electrostatic interaction lowers the shear modulus of chemical polyelectrolytes and the plateau modulus of solutions of giant micelles. Two alternative models have been developed to describe this phenomenon. The effect may be caused by orientational correlation.
In the research project we want to study the effect of electrostatic interaction on the elastic properties of polyelectrolytes to provide arguments for one model. In a second step the dynamic properties of semidilute solutions will be investigated. Experimental tools are induced birefringence measurements, rheology and neutron scattering at rest and under shear.