Exact theory of sedimentation equilibrium made useful
The exact description of the thermodynamics of solutions has been used to describe, without approximation, the distribution of all the components of an incompressible solution in a centrifuge cell at sedimentation equilibrium. Thermodynamic parameters describing the interactions between solute components of known molar mass can be obtained by direct analysis of the experimental data.
Interpretation of the measured thermodynamic parameters in terms of molecular interactions requires that an arbitrary distinction be made between nonassociative forces, like hard-sphere volume-exclusion and mean-field electrostatic repulsion or attraction, and specific short-range forces of association that give rise to the formation of molecular aggregates. Provided the former can be accounted for adequately, the effects of the latter can be elucidated in the form of good estimates of the equilibrium constants for the reactions of aggregation.
Key wordsSedimentation equilibrium Molecular interactions Thermodynamic nonideality Equilibrium constants
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