Microstructure Determination of AOT Plus Phenol Organogels Utilizing Small-Angle X-Ray Scattering and Atomic Force Microscopy

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Polymers and High Performance Materials


Dry reverse micelles of the anionic twin-tailed surfactant bis(2-ethylhexyl) sulfosuccinate (AOT) dissolved in nonpolar solvents spontaneously form an organogel when p-chlorophenol is added in a 1:1 AOT: phenol molar ratio. The solvents used were benzene, toluene, nz-xylene, 2,2,4-trimethylpentane (isooctane), decane, dodecane, tetradecane, hexadecane, and 2,6,10, 13-tetramethylpentadecane (TMPD). The proposed microstructure of the gel is based on strands of stacked phenols Linked to AOT through hydrogen bonding. Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) spectra of the organogels suggest a characteristic length scale for these phenol-AOT strands that is independent of concentration but dependent on the chemical nature of the nonpolar solvent used. Correlation lengths determined from the SAXS spectra indicate that the strands self-assemble into fibers. Direct visualization of the gel in its native state is accomplished by usings tapping mode atomic force microscopy (AFM). It is shown that these organogels consist of fiber bundle assemblies. The SAXS and AFM data reinforce thr theory of a molecular architecture consisting of three length scales-AOT/phenolic strands ica. 2 nm in diameter) that self-assemble into fibers (ca. 10 nm in diameter), which then aggregate into fiber bundles (ca. 20-100 nm in diameter) and form the organogel.

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Journal of the American Chemical Society





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