Most magnetorheological materials, composed of magnetic microparticles in a liquid, require significant amounts of magnetic particles and a large magnetic field to achieve the desired effects. Here, we report on a new type of magnetorheological materials consisting of small amounts of magnetic nanoparticles (0.8 wt %) but exhibiting large rheological change (i.e., a gel-sol transition) upon the application of a small magnetic field. We use self-assembly to create hybrid nanofibers, which consist of supramolecular hydrogelators and magnetic nanoparticles, as the matrices of the hydrogel. Localized in the nanofibers at a distance of 1-2 nm, the magnetic nanoparticles occupy a small volume fraction of the hydrogel, significantly enhancing the magnetic dipole interactions between them, which results in the large magnetoresponse. This strategy generates a hierarchical nanostructure and eliminates several drawbacks of the simple mixture of polymers with nanoparticles, and thus provides a new methodology that uses magnetic force to control the nanostructures and properties of soft materials.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was partially supported by RGC (Hong Kong), EHIA (HKUST).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery
- Organic Chemistry