Ordered liquids and hydrogels from alkenyl succinic ester terminated bola-amphiphiles for large-scale applications†
The present study describes an economic and scalable approach to aqueous mesophases from bola-amphiphiles (BA) obtained via nucleophilic addition of dimer fatty acid based α,ω-polyesterdiols (PES) on cyclic acid anhydrides and conversion of the carboxylic end groups into ammonium salts. Novel bola-amphiphilic head groups are introduced using alkenyl succinic anhydrides (ASA). The additional terminal hydrophobic side chains favour the self-assembly of polymeric BA of different molecular weights into nanoscale anisotropic objects, their shape and ordering into nematic or lamellar-like phases being dependent on the length and structural uniformity of the ASA chains. Corresponding diester based on C15 (hydrogenated bisphenol-A, HBA) and C8 (1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol, CHDM) spacers have been prepared and the self-assembly of the resulting BA in water has been studied using SAXS, 2H-NMR and optical polarization microscopy. While the rigid C8 spacer impedes any ordering, ASA capped C15 tends to form ordered hydrogels over extended regions of the phase diagram that resemble mesh phases and Lα/L3 polymorphism. Rheological and simulation results confirm the presence of elastically responding bicontinuous morphologies and biased porous assemblies resembling interconnected mesh phases. Both the use of the dimer fatty acid based spacer as well as of ASA head groups open up large-scale applications of ordered liquids (or hydrogels) as a formulation basis for e.g. films, coatings and adhesives.