Polymerization in soft nanoconfinement of lamellar and reverse hexagonal mesophases†
This work describes the kinetics of thermal polymerization in nanoconfined domains of lyotropic liquid crystal (LLC) templates by using chemorheological studies at different temperatures. We investigate lamellar and reverse hexagonal LLC phases with the same concentration of the monomeric phase. Results show that the mesophase structures remain intact during thermal polymerization with very slight changes in the domain size. The polymerization rate decreases in the nanoconfined structure compared to the bulk state due to the segregation effect, which increases the local monomer concentration and enhances the termination rate. Additionally, the polymerization rate is faster in the studied reverse hexagonal systems compared to the lamellar ones due to their lower degree of confinement. A higher degree of confinement also induces a lower monomer conversion. Differential scanning calorimetry confirms the obtained results from chemorheology.