Skip over navigation

Solubility and Molecular Conformations of n-Alkane Chains in Water

Imagse courtsey Andrew Ferguson

Isolated n-alkane chains in water serve as useful model systems in which to study the role of hydrophobicity in protein folding. By performing test insertions of a spherical probe to determine solvent excluded volumes, we find the collapse of n-octadecane (C18H38) from an extended conformation, (a), to a globular coil, (b), to be accompanied by the appearance of a large solvent excluded cavity, colored green, in the core of the collapsed chain. The wetting/dewetting free energy cost associated with this cavity is responsible for the elevation of the free energy barrier between extended and collapsed chain conformations in aqueous solution relative to the ideal-gas phase. 

For more infomation about Professor Debenedetti's research please see the Debenedetti Research Group site.

For more infomation about Professor Panagiotopoulos's research please see the Panagiotopoulos Research Group site.