Langmuir, Vol.32, No.44, 11664-11671, 2016
Two-Component Self-Assemblies: Investigation of a Synergy between Bisurea Stickers
It is of interest to develop two-component systems for added flexibility in the design of supramolecular polymers, nanofibers, or organogels. Bisureas are known to self-assemble by hydrogen bonding into long supramolecular objects. We show here that mixing aromatic bisureas with slightly different structures can yield surprisingly large synergistic effects. A strong increase in viscosity is observed when a bisurea with the sterically demanding 2,4,6-trimethylbenzene spacer is combined with a bisurea bearing no methyl group in position 2 of the aromatic spacer (i.e., 4-methylbenzene or 4,6-dimethylbenzene). This effect is the consequence of a change in the supramolecular assembly triggered by the composition of the mixture. The mixture of complementary bisureas forms rodlike objects that are more stable by about 1 kJ/mol and that are thicker than the rodlike objects formed by both parent systems.