In this article, we review a dynamic covalent gel system developed as a high temperature well construction fluid. The key gel/fluid phase changes and related materials properties are addressable via the constitutional and coordination dynamics of the equilibrium and non-equilibrium molecular species comprising the material. The interplay between these species and external stimuli leads to material adaptability. Specifically, the introduction of metal ions into a non-equilibrium hemiaminal gel reverts this phase into a non-equilibrium liquid. When heated, this liquid transforms itself catalytically into the thermodynamically favoured closed-ring polyhexahydrotriazine (PHT) gel product. The temperature stability of different PHT gel formulations is evaluated as a function of the inclusion of various salts. It is possible to revert this thermodynamic PHT gel back into a liquid. This pH dependent transformation depends on the R groups linking the hexahydrotriazines (HTs) to one another. While polyethylene glycol (PEG) based PHT gels revert to liquids with water and mild protonation conditions, in comparison, polypropylene glycol (PPG) based gels require stronger acid conditions with heat, or a different more nucleophilically driven ring-opening mechanism by, for example, phosphines. The covalent dynamic chemistry in this chemical system gives way to many possible applications in addition to the high temperature solution-gelation (sol-gels) for which it has been primarily designed.
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