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Structural water as an essential comonomer in supramolecular polymerization

Shengyi Dong1,*, Jing Leng2, Yexin Feng3, Ming Liu4, Chloe J. Stackhouse4, Andreas Schönhals2, Leonardo Chiappisi5,6, Lingyan Gao7, Wei Chen8, Jie Shang9, Lin Jin9, Zhenhui Qi9,* and Christoph A. Schalley7,9,*

1College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, Hunan, P.R. China.

2Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM), Unter den Eichen 87, 12205 Berlin, Germany.

3School of Physics and Electronics, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, Hunan, P.R. China.

4Department of Chemistry and Centre for Materials Discovery, University of Liverpool, Crown Street, Liverpool L69 7ZD, UK.

5Institut Max von Laue–Paul Langevin, Large Scale Structures Group, 71 Avenue des Martyrs, 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France.

6Stranski Laboratorium für Physikalische Chemie und Theoretische Chemie, Institut für Chemie, Technische Universität Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni 124, Sekr. TC7, D-10623 Berlin, Germany.

7Institut für Chemie und Biochemie, Freie Universität Berlin, Takustrasse 3, 14195 Berlin, Germany.

8Department of Pharmaceutical Engineering, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, P.R. China.

9Sino-German Joint Research Lab for Space Biomaterials and Translational Technology, School of Life Sciences, Northwestern Polytechnical University, 127 Youyi Xilu, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710072, P.R. China.

↵*Corresponding author. Email: dongsy@hnu.edu.cn (S.D.); qi@nwpu.edu.cn (Z.Q.); c.schalley@fu-berlin.de (C.A.S.)

Science Advances 15 Nov 2017:

Vol. 3, no. 11, eaao0900


Although the concept of structural water that is bound inside hydrophobic pockets and helps to stabilize protein structures is well established, water has rarely found a similar role in supramolecular polymers. Water is often used as a solvent for supramolecular polymerization, however without taking the role of a comonomer for the supramolecular polymer structure. We report a low–molecular weight monomer whose supramolecular polymerization is triggered by the incorporation of water. The presence of water molecules as comonomers is essential to the polymerization process. The supramolecular polymeric material exhibits strong adhesion to surfaces, such as glass and paper. It can be used as a water-activated glue, which can be released at higher temperatures and reused many times without losing its performance.

Copyright © 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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