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pH-Tunable Hydrogelators for Water Purification: Structural Optimisation and Evaluation

DOI: 10.1002/chem.201102137 DOI Help

Authors: Daniel M. Wood (University of Reading) , Barnaby Greenland (University of Reading) , Aaron L. Acton (University of Reading) , Francisco Rodríguez-llansola (Universitat Jaume I) , Claire A. Murray (University of Reading) , Christine J. Cardin (University of Reading) , Juan F. Miravet (Universitat Jaume I) , Beatriu Escuder (Universitat Jaume I) , Ian W. Hamley (University of Reading) , Wayne Hayes (University of Reading)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Chemistry - A European Journal , VOL 18 , PAGES 2692 - 2699

State: Published (Approved)
Published: February 2012

Abstract: A focused library of potential hydrogelators each containing two substituted aromatic residues separated by a urea or thiourea linkage have been synthesised and characterized. Six of these novel compounds are highly efficient hydrogelators, forming gels in aqueous solution at low concentrations (0.03–0.60 wt %). Gels were formed through a pH switching methodology, by acidification of a basic solution (pH 14 to ≈4) either by addition of HCl or via the slow hydrolysis of glucono-δ-lactone. Frequently, gelation was accompanied by a dramatic switch in the absorption spectra of the gelators, resulting in a significant change in colour, typically from a vibrant orange to pale yellow. Each of the gels was capable of sequestering significant quantities of the aromatic cationic dye, methylene blue, from aqueous solution (up to 1.02 g of dye per gram of dry gelator). Cryo-transmission electron microscopy of two of the gels revealed an extensive network of high aspect ratio fibers. The structure of the fibers altered dramatically upon addition of 20 wt % of the dye, resulting in aggregation and significant shortening of the fibrils. This study demonstrates the feasibility for these novel gels finding application as inexpensive and effective water purification platforms.

Journal Keywords: electron microscopy; gels; self-assembly; supramolecular chemistry; X-ray diffraction

Subject Areas: Chemistry

Technical Areas: