American Chemical Society
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Organogel-Derived Covalent–Noncovalent Hybrid Polymers as Alkali Metal-Ion Scavengers for Partial Deionization of Water

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posted on 2018-04-12, 00:00 authored by Annamalai Prathap, Cijil Raju, Kana M. Sureshan
We show that crown ethers (CEs) 15 congeal both polar and nonpolar solvents via their self-assembly through weak noncovalent interactions (NCIs) such as CH···O and CH···π interactions. Diisopropylidene-mannitol (6) is a known gelator that self-assembles through stronger OH···O H bonding. These two gelators together also congeal nonpolar solvents via their individual self-assembly. Gelator 6 self-assembles swiftly to fibers, which act as templates and attract CE to their surface through H bonding and thereby facilitate their self-assembly through weak NCI. Polymerization of styrene gels made from CE and 6, followed by the washing off of the sacrificial gelator 6, yields robust porous polystyrene-crown ether hybrid matrices (PCH), having pore-exposed CEs. These PCHs not only were efficient in sequestering alkali metal ions from aqueous solutions but also can be recycled. This novel use of organogels for making solid sorbents for metal-ion scavenging might be of great interest.