Crosslinked Bicontinuous Cubic Lyotropic Liquid-Crystal/Butyl-Rubber Composites: Highly Selective, Breathable Barrier Materials for Chemical Agent Protection


  • Primary financial support was provided by the U.S. Army Research Office via an STTR grant to TDA Research, Inc. (DAAD19-02-C-0065), with a subcontract to the University of Colorado, Boulder. Partial support from the U.S. Dept. of Energy via an STTR grant to TDA Research (DE-FG02-03ER8616) is also gratefully acknowledged. The authors also thank Dr. J. van den Bungelaar and Dr. G. Calis of DSM Solutech, The Netherlands for providing support related to Solupor, J. Ge at CU Boulder for assistance with mid-IR analysis, and P. R. Nemade for help with the figures. Supporting Information is available online from Wiley InterScience or from the author.


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A breathable material that can act as a barrier to chemical agents is presented. The material is composed of butyl rubber and a crosslinkable lyotropic liquid crystal. Under the right synthesis conditions, a cubic phase with the desired selectivity properties results (see figure). The material is highly permeable to water vapor, but strongly impermeable to a mustard gas simulant. Application of the material for effective personal protection against such chemical agents is envisaged.