Low molecular weight supramolecular gels consist of small molecules (gelators) that in an appropriate solvent self-assemble into nano- or micro-scale network structures resulting in the formation of a gel. Most supramolecular gels consist of two parts, namely the solvent and the gelator. However, the concept of multi-component supramolecular gels, in which more than one compound is added to the solvent, offers a facile way (e.g. by changing the ratio of the different components) to tailor the properties of the gel. The simplest multi-component gels consist of two components added to the solvent and are the most widely studied to date. There are three general classes of such multi-component gels that have been investigated. The first class requires all the added components to access the gel; that is, no component forms a gel on its own. A second class uses two (or more) gelators which can either co-assemble or self-sort into distinct assemblies and the final class consists of one (or more) gelator and one (or more) non-gelling additive which can impact the assembly process of the gelator and therefore the gel's properties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas