Thermoreversible supramacromolecular ion gels via hydrogen bonding

Atsushi Noro, Yushu Matsushita, Timothy P. Lodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


We report the thermoreversible viscoelastic properties of a supramolecular ion gel. Two building blocks were used to form "supramacromolecules". An ABA triblock copolymer (Mn = 50 000, poly(2-vinylpyridine)-b- poly(ethyl acrylate)-b-poly(2-vinylpyridine)) (P2VP-PEA-P2VP), with a mole ratio of 0.1/0.8/0.1 as a telechelic polymer, and a poly(4-hydroxystyrene) (PHS) homopolymer, with Mn = 6600 as a connector, form a physical gel via hydrogen bonding between P2VP and PHS. The thermally stable, hydrophobic ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide (EMITFSI) provided a good solvent medium for PEA from room temperature up to at least 160°C. A solution containing 10 wt % P2VP-PEA-P2VP and 4% PHS was a liquid at elevated temperatures but on cooling formed a network at 141.5°C. Dynamic shear moduli obtained as a function of frequency at various temperatures from 30 to 160°C could be superposed to form excellent master curves, with a distinct plateau modulus extending over more than 11 orders of magnitude in frequency. The longest relaxation time inferred from the time-temperature superposition shift factors showed a similar 11 order of magnitude increase on cooling. This remarkable temperature sensitivity of the supramacromolecular ion gel is attributed to the formation of multiple hydrogen bonds between a given P2VP block and PHS cross-linker. A hydrogen bond energy of 13 kJ/mol was estimated from temperature-dependent FTIR measurements, and a straightforward analysis yielded an estimate of the number of hydrogen bonds per P2VP block as a function of temperature. This system is distinct from other supramolecular hydrogen-bonded polymers, and from hydrophobically modified associating polymers, in that below the gelation temperature the number of physical cross-links is independent of temperature, but the strength of each association, namely, the number of active hydrogen bonds within a particular cross-link site, increases strongly on cooling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5839-5844
Number of pages6
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 12 2008


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