One hundred years ago Hermann Staudinger was strongly criticized by his scientific peers for his macromolecular hypothesis, but today it is hard to imagine a world without polymers. His hypothesis described polymers as macromolecules composed of large numbers of structural units connected by covalent bonds. In the 1990s the concept of supramolecular polymers emerged in the scientific literature as discrete entities of large molar mass comparable to that of classical polymers but built through non-covalent bonds among monomers. Supramolecular polymers exist in biological systems, and potentially blend the physical properties of covalent polymers with unique features such as high degrees of internal order within the polymeric structure, defined shapes, and novel dynamics. This trend article provides a summary of seminal contributions in supramolecular polymerization and provides recent examples from the Stupp laboratory to demonstrate the potential applications of an exciting class of materials composed fully or partially of supramolecular polymers. In closing, we provide our perspective on future opportunities provided by this field at the onset of a second century of polymers. It is our objective here to demonstrate that this second century could be as prosperous, if not more so, than the preceding one.
|Journal||Progress in Polymer Science|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2020|