We describe the gelation, upon self-assembly of a series of nonchiral molecules, resulting in tubular morphology of the fibers. These are biscarbamates, which are model compounds for polyurethanes with two hydrogen bonding groups separated by a (CH2)6 spacer and symmetrically substituted with alkyl chains on either side varying in length from C6 to C18. Upon gelation, these molecules form a sheet initially. The sheets then tend to wrap, leading to tubules. Those with partial wrapping resemble eaves troughs. With the predominant growth along the hydrogen bonding direction, the energy of interaction between the molecules along this direction would be more dominant than just the van der Waals interaction in the other two, leading to asymmetry of interaction in the sheet. We rationalize such tube formation in this case on the basis of the theories [Schnur, J. M.; Ratna, B. R.; Selinger, J. V.; Singh, A.; Jyothi, G.; Easwaran, K. R. K. Science, 1994, 264, 945. Schnur, J. M. Science, 1993, 262, 166. McKierman, R. L.; Heintz, A. M.; Hsu, S. L.; Gido, S. P.; Penelle, J. Polym. Mater. Sci. Eng. 2001, 84, 416.] which were developed for amphophilic mono and bilayers, which state that these bilayers are not at their minimal energy when they are flat, and prefer a bent state. The gelation behavior of this series with double hydrogen bond is compared with the monocarbamates with a single hydrogen bonding motif [Moniruzzaman, M.; Sundararajan, P. R. Langmuir 2005, 21, 3802.]. We attribute the tendency toward both gelation and crystallization in some cases to the competing contributions of the hydrogen bond and van der Waals interactions between the long alkyl side chains. Oriented fibers for X-ray diffraction were obtained by simply using a magnetic stir bar during gelation. It is also found that the solvents that gel with diureas [van Esch, J.; Kellogg, R. M.; Feringa, B. L. Tetrahedron Lett. 1997, 38, 281] also form gels with biscarbamates. While the biscarbamates with even number of CH2 groups in the side chain form short fibers, one with (CH2)9 side group formed long fibers characteristic of órgano gels. In addition, when this odd side chain biscarbamate was mixed with one having a (CH 2)8 side group, the gelation led to long fibers, following the sergeant and soldier principle.

Department of Chemistry

Khanna, S. (Shalini), Khan, M.K. (Mostofa Kamal), & Sundararajan, P. (2009). Influence of double hydrogen bonds and alkyl chains on the gelation of nonchiral polyurethane model compounds: Sheets, eaves trough, tubes and oriented fibers. Langmuir, 25(22), 13183–13193. doi:10.1021/la901887y