; Hao, Jingcheng] Shandong Univ, Minist Educ, Key Lab Colloid & Interface Chem, Jinan 250100, Peoples R China
; [Wu, Zhonghua] Chinese Acad Sci, Inst High Energy Phys, Beijing 100049, Peoples R China
Anisotropic thermally reversible ionogels of sodium laurate (SL) were prepared in the first discovered room-temperature ionic liquid (RTIL), ethylammonium nitrate (EAN). Polarized optical microscope images indicate that the gels are birefringent, illuminating the presence of anisotropic structures. Small-angle X-ray scattering results reveal that SL and lauric acid (LA) molecules are arranged to form lamellar structures, but no SL crystallites were confirmed by the X-ray diffraction measurements. With an increase of the SL concentration, the interlayer distance decreases. Rheological measurements indicate that the anisotropic ionogels are highly viscoelastic and the storage modulus (G') increases with an increase of the SL concentration in EAN. Electrochemical measurements indicate that the anisotropic ionogels may have potential applications in electrochemical fields. The intermolecular hydrogen bond as well as the solvatophobic interaction of SL and LA formed by a chemical reaction, CH3(CH2)(10)COONa + CH3CH2NH3NO3 -> CH3CH2NH2 up arrow + NaNO3 down arrow + CH3(CH2)(10)COOH, can play a role in the formation of three-dimensional networks having lamellar structures which are responsible for the anisotropic ionogels. The formation of anisotropic ionogels by surfactants in RTILs could be a new phenomenon, but this is not a very classic case of organogels.