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pH-tunable hydrogelators for water purification: structural optimisation and evaluation

Wood, D. M., Greenland, B. W., Acton, A. L., Rodríguez-Llansola, F., Murray, C. A., Cardin, C. J. ORCID:, Miravet, J. F., Escuder, B., Hamley, I. W. ORCID: and Hayes, W. ORCID: (2012) pH-tunable hydrogelators for water purification: structural optimisation and evaluation. Chemistry - A European Journal, 18 (9). pp. 2692-2699. ISSN 0947-6539

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/chem.201102137


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.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF)
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:28488
Publisher:Wiley-V C H Verlag GMBH

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