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Issue 36, 2013
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Hybrid polymer and low molecular weight gels – dynamic two-component soft materials with both responsive and robust nanoscale networks

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Abstract

Hybrid hydrogels combining both a low molecular weight gelator (LMWG, 1,3:2,4-dibenzylidene-D-sorbitol–p,p′-dicarboxylic acid) and a polymer gelator (PG, agarose) are reported. The dynamic assembly of the LMWG is explored in the absence and presence of the PG using NMR and CD methods. It is shown that the LMWG still assembles into chiral nanofibres in the presence of a nanoscale PG network, although the kinetics of assembly are somewhat modified. As such, these hybrid materials can be considered as self-sorting multi-gelator gels. Importantly, the LMWG retains its pH-responsive character and can be assembled and disassembled within the PG network, which acts to retain the overall integrity of the gel. As such, these materials demonstrate how the responsive nature of an LMWG can be combined with the greater resilience of a PG network to yield novel materials with hybrid performance.

Graphical abstract: Hybrid polymer and low molecular weight gels – dynamic two-component soft materials with both responsive and robust nanoscale networks

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
19 Jul 2013
Accepted
06 Aug 2013
First published
12 Aug 2013

Soft Matter, 2013,9, 8730-8736
Article type
Paper

Hybrid polymer and low molecular weight gels – dynamic two-component soft materials with both responsive and robust nanoscale networks

D. J. Cornwell, B. O. Okesola and D. K. Smith, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 8730
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM51967H

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