Chapter 2. Multifunctional Supramolecular Gels – An Overview


Varsha Bhardwaj and Amar Ballabh
Department of Chemistry, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Part of the book: Advances in Chemistry Research. Volume 76

Chapter DOI:


Supramolecular gels belong to the class of soft materials, which can display both, solid- and liquid-like properties under the influence of external mechanical stress. They are typically dilute systems containing a very small amount of Low Molecular Weight Gelator (LMWG) which can self-assemble into nano-scale network causing the solvent phase to immobilize, forming a gel. This happens as a result of a combination of complementary supramolecular interactions such as electrostatic, hydrophobic, van der Waals, hydrogen bonding, π-π, etc. to generate hierarchically ordered supermolecules. Molecular gels are highly functional materials which can respond to external stimuli like heat, light, ultrasound, change in pH, presence of redox-active species, ions, enzymes, applied voltage, magnetic field, etc. In this chapter, we intend to discuss the various applications of low molecular weight gelators which highlight their key advantages like exquisite tunability, self-healing ability, self-programmability and certain aspects which can guide our way to design such functional materials a priori, which has so far, remained a challenging task. We have tried to summarize the recent advancements in terms of the widespread applications they offer owing to their exclusive physical and chemical properties.

Keywords: supramolecular gels, low molecular weight gelators, selfassembly, self-healing


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