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Supramolecular Chemistry in Polymer Networks

Cormack, Peter and Besenius, Pol (2012) Supramolecular Chemistry in Polymer Networks. In: Supramolecular Chemistry: from Molecules to Nanomaterials. John Wiley and Sons Limited, pp. 3321-3336. ISBN 978-0-470-74640-0

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Cross-linked organic materials or polymer networks have found numerous applications and technologies that are indispensable in everyday life. Networks formed via molecular recognition events that act as noncovalent cross-linkers exhibit rather unusual properties due to the dynamic character and tunable strength of the supramolecular interactions. In the first instance, we aim to introduce and discuss complementary functional groups that have been developed to allow for reversible network formation in bulk supramolecular materials. Thereafter, this chapter deals mainly with network formation in macroscopic and particulate gels. In both parts, we highlight how material properties at the meso- and macroscopic scales are governed by noncovalent forces on the molecular level, and how supramolecular interactions can offer opportunities in the fabrication of stimuli-responsive materials. Lead examples and applications are highlighted throughout, for example, in the development of thermoplastic elastomers, coatings, tissue engineering, and drug delivery technologies.