Using the hydrolysis of anhydrides to control gel properties and homogeneity in pH-triggered gelation†
The pH of an aqueous solution of a low molecular weight gelator can be adjusted through the hydrolysis of a number of anhydrides to the corresponding acids. The rate of hydrolysis and hence of pH change can be used to control the rate of gel formation. This rate does not affect the primary assembly of the low molecular weight gelator, but does affect the mechanical properties of the resulting gels, as well as the homogeneity and reproducibility of the gels. The mechanical properties are compared by both rheology and dynamic nanoindentation.