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Mechanism of dye solubilization and de-aggregation by urea

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DateSubmitted - 27 Apr 2021
DateAccepted/In press - 29 May 2021
DatePublished (current) - 4 Jun 2021
Original languageEnglish


Urea is an effective solubilizer for dyes with low aqueous solubility. To establish, at a molecular level, the reason behind the action of urea as an effective solubilizer, we employ a rigorous statistical thermodynamics approach based on the Kirkwood-Buff theory of solutions. We show that (i) contrary to the classical hypothesis on “water structure breaking”, the effect of urea on dye hydration makes a minor contribution to solubilization; (ii) the driving force of solubilization is the accumulation of urea around hydrophobic dye molecules.

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