Howard M. Colquhoun

University of Reading, Reading, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (167)841.25 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The cyclocondensation reaction between rigid, electron-rich aromatic diamines and 1,1'-bis(2,4-dinitrophenyl)-4,4'-bipyridinium (Zincke) salts has been harnessed to produce a series of conjugated oligomers containing up to twelve aromatic/heterocyclic residues. These oligomers exhibit discrete, multiple redox processes accompanied by dramatic changes in electronic absorption spectra.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry
  • Kate JC Lim · Paul Cross · Peter Mills · Howard M Colquhoun
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of varying the alkali metal cation in the high-temperature nucleophilic synthesis of a semi-crystalline, aromatic poly(ether ketone) have been systematically investigated, and striking variations in the sequence distributions and thermal characteristics of the resulting polymers were found. Polycondensation of 4,4′-dihydroxybenzophenone with 1,3-bis(4-fluorobenzoyl)benzene in diphenylsulphone as solvent, in the presence of an alkali metal carbonate M 2CO3 (M = Li, Na, K, or Rb) as base, affords a range of different polymers that vary in the distribution pattern of two-ring and three-ring monomer units along the chain. Lithium carbonate gives an essentially alternating and highly crystalline polymer, but the degree of sequence randomization increases progressively as the alkali metal series is descended, with rubidium carbonate giving a fully random and non-thermally crystallizable polymer. Randomization during polycondensation is shown to result from reversible cleavage of the ether linkages in the polymer by fluoride ions, and an isolated sample of alternating sequence polymer is thus converted to a fully randomized material on heating with rubidium fluoride.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · High Performance Polymers
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    ABSTRACT: A supramolecular polymer based upon two complementary polymer components is formed by sequential deposition from solution in THF, using a piezoelectric drop-on-demand inkjet printer. Highly efficient cycloaddition or ‘click’ chemistry afforded a well-defined poly(ethylene glycol) featuring chain-folding diimide end groups, which possesses greatly enhanced solubility in THF relative to earlier materials featuring random diimide sequences. Blending the new polyimide with a complementary poly(ethylene glycol) system bearing pyrene end groups (which bind to the chain-folding diimide units) overcomes the limited solubility encountered previously with chain-folding polyimides in inkjet printing applications. The solution state properties of the resulting polymer blend were assessed via viscometry to confirm the presence of a supramolecular polymer before depositing the two electronically complementary polymers by inkjet printing techniques. The novel materials so produced offer an insight into ways of controlling the properties of printed materials through tuning the structure of the polymer at the (supra)molecular level.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Polymer Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Copolycondensation of N,N’-bis(4-hydroxybutyl)-biphenyl-3,4,3',4'-tetracarboxylic diimide at 20 and 25 mol% with bis(4-hydroxybutyl)-2,6-naphthalate produces PBN-based copoly(ester-imide)s that not only crystallise but also form a (smectic) mesophase upon cooling from the melt. Incorporation of 25 mol% imide in PBN causes the glass transition temperature (measured by DSC) to rise from 51 to 74 °C, a significant increase relative to PBN. Furthermore, increased storage- (G'), loss- (G'') and elastic (E) moduli are observed for both copoly(ester-imide)s when compared to PBN itself. Structural analysis of the 20 mol% copolymer by X-ray powder and fibre diffraction, interfaced to computational modelling, suggests a crystal structure related to that of α-PBN, in space group P-1, with cell dimensions a = 4.74, b = 6.38, c = 14.45 Å, α = 106.1, β = 122.1, γ = 97.3°, ρ = 1.37 g cm-3.
    Preview · Article · May 2015 · Polymer
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    ABSTRACT: Electronically complementary, low molecular weight polymers that self-assemble through tuneable π-π stacking interactions to form extended supramolecular polymer networks have been developed for inkjet printing applications and successfully deposited using three different printing techniques. Sequential overprinting of the complementary components results in supramolecular network formation through complexation of π-electron rich pyrenyl or perylenyl chain-ends in one component with π-electron deficient naphthalene diimide residues in a chain-folding polyimide. The complementary π-π stacked polymer blends generate strongly coloured materials as a result of charge-transfer absorption bands in the visible spectrum, potentially negating the need for pigments or dyes in the ink formulation. Indeed, the final colour of the deposited material can be tailored by varying the end-groups of the π electron rich polymer component. Piezoelectric printing techniques were employed in a proof of concept study to allow characterisation of the materials deposited, and a thermal inkjet printer adapted with imaging software enabled in situ analysis of the ink-drops as they formed, and of their physical properties. Finally, continuous inkjet printing allowed greater volumes of material to be deposited, on a variety of different substrate surfaces, and demonstrated the utility and versatility of this novel type of ink for industrial applications.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
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    ABSTRACT: A two-component, supramolecular polymer blend has been designed using a novel π-electron rich bis-perylene-terminated polyether. This polymer is able to self-assemble through electronically complementary π–π stacking interactions with a π-electron-deficient chain-folding polydiimide to afford thermally healable polymer blends. Model compounds were developed to assess the suitability of the deep green complexes formed between perylene residues and chain-folding bis-diimides for use in polymer blends. The polymer blends thus synthesised were elastomeric in nature and demonstrated healable properties as demonstrated by scanning electron microscopy. Healing was observed to occur rapidly at ca. 75 °C, and excellent healing efficiencies were found by tensometric and rheometric analyses. These tuneable, stimuli-responsive, supramolecular polymer blends are compared to related healable blends featuring pyrene-terminated oligomers.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Polymer
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    ABSTRACT: Copolycondensation of N,N'-bis(2-hydroxyethyl)-biphenyl-3,4,3',4'-tetracarboxylic diimide (5-25 mol %) with bis(2-hydroxyethyl)-2,6-naphthalate affords a series of cocrystalline, poly(ethylene 2,6-naphthalate) (PEN)-based poly(ester imide)s. The glass transition temperature rises with the level of comonomer, from 118 degrees C for PEN itself to 148 degrees C for the 25% dihnide copolymer. X-ray powder and fiber diffraction studies show that, when 5 mol % or more of diimide is present, the alpha-PEN crystal structure is replaced by a new crystalline phase arising from isomorphic substitution of biphenyldiimide for PEN residues in the polymer crystal lattice. This new phase is provisionally identified as monoclinic, C2/m, with two chains per unit cell, a = 10.56, b = 6.74, c = 13.25 angstrom, and beta = 143.0 degrees.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2014 · ACS Macro Letters
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    ABSTRACT: Efforts to further extend the range of applications of polymer based materials have resulted in the recent production of healable polymers that can regain their strength after damage. Within this field of healable materials, supramolecular polymers have been subject to extensive investigation. By virtue of their reversible non-covalent interactions, cracks and fractures in such polymers can be readily and repeatably healed in order to regain key physical properties. However, many supramolecular polymers are relatively weak and elastomeric in nature, which renders them unsuitable for high strength structural applications. To overcome these deficiencies, preliminary studies have shown that it is possible to reinforce supramolecular polymers with micro- and nano-scale fillers to afford composites that are not only stronger and stiffer when compared to the polymers alone but also retain their healing abilities. This mini-review discusses the evolution of these supramolecular composites and their advantages over more conventional, covalent polymeric materials.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Polymer International
  • Howard Colquhoun · Jean-François Lutz

    No preview · Article · May 2014 · Nature Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Polymers with the ability to heal themselves could provide access to materials with extended lifetimes in a wide range of applications such as surface coatings, automotive components and aerospace composites. Here we describe the synthesis and characterisation of two novel, stimuli-responsive, supramolecular polymer blends based on π-electron-rich pyrenyl residues and π-electron-deficient, chain-folding aromatic diimides that interact through complementary π–π stacking interactions. Different degrees of supramolecular “cross-linking” were achieved by use of divalent or trivalent poly(ethylene glycol)-based polymers featuring pyrenyl end-groups, blended with a known diimide–ether copolymer. The mechanical properties of the resulting polymer blends revealed that higher degrees of supramolecular “cross-link density” yield materials with enhanced mechanical properties, such as increased tensile modulus, modulus of toughness, elasticity and yield point. After a number of break/heal cycles, these materials were found to retain the characteristics of the pristine polymer blend, and this new approach thus offers a simple route to mechanically robust yet healable materials.
    No preview · Article · May 2014
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    ABSTRACT: The o-palladated, chloro-bridged dimers [Pd{2-phenylpyridine(-H)}-μ-Cl]2 and [Pd{N,N-dimethylbenzylamine(-H)}-μ-Cl]2 react with cyanuric acid in the presence of base to afford closed, chiral cage-molecules in which 12 organo-Pd(II) centers, located in pairs at the vertices of an octahedron, are linked by four tetrahedrally arranged cyanurato(3−) ligands. Incomplete (Pd10) cages, having structures derived from the corresponding Pd12 cages by replacing one pair of organopalladium centers with two protons, have also been isolated. Reaction of [Pd{2-phenylpyridine(-H)}-μ-Cl]2 with trithiocyanuric acid gives an entirely different and more open type of cage-complex, comprising only nine organopalladium centers and three thiocyanurato(3−) ligands: cage-closure in this latter system appears to be inhibited by steric crowding of the thiocarbonyl groups.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Inorganic Chemistry
  • Howard Colquhoun · Bert Klumperman

    No preview · Article · Aug 2013
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    ABSTRACT: A new, healable, supramolecular nanocomposite material has been developed and evaluated. The material comprises a blend of three components: a pyrene-functionalized polyamide, a polydiimide and pyrene-functionalized gold nanoparticles (P-AuNPs). The polymeric components interact by forming well-defined π–π stacked complexes between π-electron rich pyrenyl residues and π-electron deficient polydiimide residues. Solution studies in the mixed solvent chloroform–hexafluoroisopropanol (6:1, v/v) show that mixing the three components (each of which is soluble in isolation), results in the precipitation of a supramolecular, polymer nanocomposite network. The precipitate thus formed can be re-dissolved on heating, with the thermoreversible dissolution/precipitation procedure repeatable over at least 5 cycles. Robust, self-supporting composite films containing up to 15 wt% P-AuNPs could be cast from 2,2,2-trichloroethanol. Addition of as little as 1.25 wt% P-AuNPs resulted in significantly enhanced mechanical properties compared to the supramolecular blend without nanoparticles. The nanocomposites showed a linear increase in both tensile moduli and ultimate tensile strength with increasing P-AuNP content. All compositions up to 10 wt% P-AuNPs exhibited essentially quantitative healing efficiencies. Control experiments on an analogous nanocomposite material containing dodecylamine-functionalized AuNPs (5 wt%) exhibited a tensile modulus approximately half that of the corresponding nanocomposite that incorporated 5 wt% pyrene functionalized-AuNPs, clearly demonstrating the importance of the designed interactions between the gold filler and the supramolecular polymer matrix.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Proton exchange membranes (PEM’s) are currently under investigation for membrane water electrolysis (PEMWE) to deliver efficient production of the high purity hydrogen needed to supply emerging clean-energy technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells. The microblock aromatic ionomer described in this work achieves high mechanical strength in an aqueous environment as a result of its designed, biphasic morphology and displays many of the qualities required in a PEM. The new ionomer membrane thus shows good proton conductivity (63 mS cm–1 at 80 °C and 100% RH), while retaining mechanical integrity under high temperature, hydrated conditions. Testing in electrolysis has shown good energy efficiency (1.67 V at 1 A cm–2 and 80 °C, corresponding to 4 kWh/Nm3 of H2), making this ionomer a potential candidate for commercial application in PEMWE.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Macromolecules
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    ABSTRACT: This mini-review details the recent development of self-healing and mendable polymeric materials which take advantage of the reversible characteristics of non-covalent interactions during their physical recovery process. Supramolecular polymer systems which undergo spontaneous (autonomous) healing, as well as those which require external stimuli to initiate the healing process (healable/mendable), are introduced and discussed. Supramolecular polymers offer key advantages over alternative approaches, as these materials can typically withstand multiple healing cycles without substantial loss of performance, as a consequence of the highly directional and fully reversible non-covalent interactions present within the polymer matrix.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2013
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    ABSTRACT: We describe in detail a strategy for creating foldamers in which interactions between mechanically interlocked components dictate the single-molecule assembly of a folded secondary structure. This unique folding motif is based on a flexible polyether dumbbell bearing 1,5-dioxynaphthalene (DNP) donors, which folds its way through a series of cyclobis(paraquat-p-phenylene) (CBPQT4+) acceptor rings in a serpentine fashion to enable extended donor-acceptor (D-A) stacking between DNP and the electron-poor 4,4'-bipyridinium (BIPY2+) units in CBPQT4+. These oligorotaxanes can be prepared in a wide range of sizes, with molecular weights up to >15000 Da, on account of novel one-pot reactions we developed to generate the necessary oligo-DNP precursors. The product distributions from the final kinetically-controlled stoppering reactions are highly biased towards oligorotaxanes in which approximately half of the DNP units are encircled by rings, a fact which can be rationalized if the dominant solution-state struc
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Chemical Science
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    ABSTRACT: Self-complementary tweezer-molecules based on a naphthalenediimide core self-assemble into supramolecular dimers through mutual π-π-stacking and hydrogen bonding. The resulting motif is extremely stable in solution (K(a) = 10(5) M(-1)), and its attachment to one terminal position of a poly(ethylene glycol) chain leads to a doubling of the polymer's apparent molecular weight.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Chemical Communications
  • Ioannis Manolakis · Paul Cross · Steven Ward · Howard M. Colquhoun
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    ABSTRACT: Blends of PEEK with macrocyclic thioether-ketones show initial melt-viscosities reduced by more than an order of magnitude relative to the polymer itself, enabling more facile processing and fabrication. On raising the temperature of the melt, however, the macrocycle undergoes spontaneous, entropically driven ring-opening polymerization (ED-ROP), so that the properties of the final polymer should not, in principle, be compromised by the presence of low-MW macrocyclic material.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Journal of Materials Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: It's just an illusion: Above a critical chain length, where oligomers contain five or more recognition units, apparently infinite donor-acceptor polypseudorotaxanes are formed in the solid state (see picture). X-ray crystallographic analyses of three different examples have shown that although the oligomeric chains are undoubtedly discrete and monodisperse, they nevertheless appear to be infinite in the crystal.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Angewandte Chemie International Edition
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    ABSTRACT: A thermoresponsive, supramolecular nanocomposite has been prepared by the addition of pyrenyl functionalized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to a polydiimide that contains receptor residues designed to form defined complexes with pyrene. The novel pyrenyl-functionalized AuNPs (P-AuNPs) were characterized by transmission electron microscopy, with surface functionalization confirmed by infrared and UV–visible spectroscopic analyses. Mixing solutions of the P-AuNPs and a π-electron-deficient polydiimide resulted in the formation of electronically complementary, chain-folded and π–π-stacked complexes, so affording a new supramolecular nanocomposite network which precipitated from solution. The P-AuNPs bind to the polydiimide via π–π stacking interactions to create supramolecular cross-links. UV–visible spectroscopic analysis confirmed the thermally reversible nature of the complexation process, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), infrared spectroscopy (IR), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) were used to characterize the supramolecular-nanocomposite material. The supramolecular polymer network is insoluble at room temperature, yet may be dissolved at temperatures above 60 °C. The thermal reversibility of this system is maintained over five heat/cool cycles without diminishment of the network characteristics. In contrast to the individual components, the nanocomposite formed self-supporting films, demonstrating the benefit of the supramolecular network in terms of mechanical properties. Control experiments probing the interactions between a model diimide compound that can also form a π-stacked complex with the π-electron rich pyrene units on P-AuNPs showed that, while complexation was readily apparent, precipitation did not occur because a supramolecular cross-linked network system could not be formed with this system.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · Macromolecules

Publication Stats

4k Citations
841.25 Total Impact Points


  • 2001-2015
    • University of Reading
      • Department of Chemistry
      Reading, England, United Kingdom
  • 1998-2010
    • University of Salford
      Salford, England, United Kingdom
  • 1987-2010
    • Durham University
      • Department of Chemistry
      Durham, England, United Kingdom
    • University of Strathclyde
      • Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry
      Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 1997-2001
    • The University of Manchester
      • School of Chemistry
      Manchester, England, United Kingdom
  • 1981-1997
    • Imperial College London
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1986
    • The University of Sheffield
      • Department of Chemistry
      Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
  • 1985
    • University of Birmingham
      • School of Chemistry
      Birmingham, England, United Kingdom