Structure and Dynamics of a Bisurea-Based Supramolecular Polymer in n-Dodecane

The structure and dynamics of a supramolecular polymer formed by a bisurea-type compound, 2,4-bis(2-ethylhexylureido)toluene (EHUT), in an apolar solvent, n-dodecane (C12), were examined in detail. The EHUT/C12 organo-gel system forms long, dynamic chain-like supramolecular polymers, which lead to an entangled network showing remarkable viscoelastic behavior with two major relaxation modes. A slow relaxation mode with an approximately constant relaxation time, τS, was observed in a flow region and the other, fast, relaxation mode with a time τF1 (<τS) was observed in a high-frequency range. Because no dielectric relaxation behavior was observed over a frequency region including the mechanical τS and τF1 relaxation modes, the formed supramolecular polymer does not possess any total dipole moment due to antiparallel intermolecular hydrogen bonding of the two ureido groups of each EHUT unit. A structural model for the supramolecular polymer formed in EHUT/C12 is proposed based on force-field simulations. This proposed model is consistent with all the experimental data concerning this system: flow birefringence measurements, dielectric spectroscopy, SANS, and FTIR.