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Development of low molecular weight organogelators

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing

About the Project

Low Molecular Weight Organogelators (LMWOs) are small molecules, which are able to gel organic species through intermolecular supra-assembly.[1-4] This property makes them very useful for oil spill remediation and clean-up, as you can apply the LMWO to floating oil slicks; gel the oil and scoop it out of the water. Compared to conventional methods, such as the use of surfactants, sorbents or dispersants, the use of LMWOs is considered more environmentally friendly, as the oil and the LMWO are both removed from the environment.[1-5]

The deployment of LMWOs represents a significant challenge, insofar as LMWOs have to be heated or dissolved in a carrier solvent in order to disrupt their gelling intermolecular forces. This means they cannot be deployed as a powder, as the gelation forces will prevent dissolution into the oil, especially at low temperatures experienced at sea.

This project will involve the development of new LMWOs, specifically new methods for their deployment in water on oil slicks. An interest and experience in organic synthesis/soft materials would be desirable for those interested in this opportunity

Funding Notes

There is no funding for this project


1. A. Vidyasagar, K. Handore and K. M. Sureshan, Angew.Chem., Int. Ed., 2011, 50, 8021–8024.

2. C. Ren, J. Shen, F. Chen and H. Zeng, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 2017, 56, 3847–3851.

3. Y. Ohsedo, Polym. Adv. Technol., 2015, 27, 704–711.

4. W.J. Peveler et al., Soft Mater. 2018, 14, 43, 8821-8827.

5. “W.J. Peveler et al., Chem Commun.. 2014, 50, 14418-14420.

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