Distinct kinetics of molecular gelation in a confined space and its relation to the structure and property of thin gel films

Liu, Yu, Zhao, Wen-Jing, Li, Jing-Liang and Wang, Rong-Yao 2015, Distinct kinetics of molecular gelation in a confined space and its relation to the structure and property of thin gel films, Physical chemistry chemical physics, vol. 17, no. 12, pp. 8258-8265, doi: 10.1039/c4cp05715e.

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Title Distinct kinetics of molecular gelation in a confined space and its relation to the structure and property of thin gel films
Author(s) Liu, Yu
Zhao, Wen-Jing
Li, Jing-LiangORCID iD for Li, Jing-Liang orcid.org/0000-0003-0709-2246
Wang, Rong-Yao
Journal name Physical chemistry chemical physics
Volume number 17
Issue number 12
Start page 8258
End page 8265
Total pages 8
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Place of publication Cambridge, Eng.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 1463-9084
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Physical Sciences
Chemistry, Physical
Physics, Atomic, Molecular & Chemical
Summary Thin films of molecular gels formed in a confined space have potential applications in transdermal delivery, artificial skin, molecular electronics, etc. The microstructures and properties of thin gel films can be significantly different from those of their bulk counterparts. However, so far a comprehensive understanding of the effects of spatial confinement on the molecular gelation kinetics, fiber network structure and related mechanical properties is still lacking. In this work, using rheological techniques, we investigated the effect of one-dimensional confinement on the formation kinetics of fiber networks in the molecular gelation process. Fractal analyses of the kinetic information in terms of an extended Dickinson model enabled us to describe quantitatively the distinct kinetic signature of molecular gelation. The structural features derived from gelation kinetics support well the fractal patterns of the fiber networks acquired by optical and electron microscopy. With the kinetics-structure correlation, we can gain an in-depth understanding of the confinement-induced differences in the structure and consequently the mechanical properties of a model molecular gelling system. Particularly, the confinement induced structural transition, from a three-dimensional, dense and compact spherulitic network composed of highly branched fibers to a quasi-two-dimensional sparse spherulitic network composed of less branched fibers and entangled fibrils at the boundary areas, renders a gel film to become less stiff but more ductile. Our study suggests here a new strategy of engineering the fiber network microstructure to achieve functional gel films with unusual but useful properties.
Language eng
DOI 10.1039/c4cp05715e
Field of Research 091205 Functional Materials
020405 Soft Condensed Matter
Socio Economic Objective 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Grant ID FT130100057
Copyright notice ©2015, the Owner Societies
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30076117

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Institute for Frontier Materials
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