Nanostructured protic ionic liquids retain nanoscale features in aqueous solution while precursor Brønsted acids and bases exhibit different behavior

Tamar L. Greaves, Danielle F. Kennedy, Asoka Weerawardena, Nicholas M K Tse, Nigel Kirby, Calum J. Drummond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

100 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SWAXS) has been used to investigate the effect that water has on the nanoscale structure of protic ionic liquids (PILs) along with their precursor Brønsted acids and bases. The series of PILs consisted of primary, secondary, and tertiary alkylammonium cations in conjunction with formate, nitrate, or glycolate anions. Significant differences were observed for these systems. The nanoscale aggregates present in neat protic ionic liquids were shown to be stable in size on dilution to high concentrations of water, indicating that the water is localized in the ionic region and has little effect on the nonpolar domains. The Brønsted acid-water solutions did not display nanostructure at any water concentration. Primary amine Brønsted bases formed aggregates in water, which generally displayed characteristics of poorly structured microemulsions or a form of bicontinuous phase. Exceptions were butyl- and pentylamine with high water concentrations, for which the SWAXS patterns fitted well to the Teubner-Strey model for microemulsions. Brønsted base amines containing multiple alkyl chains or hydroxyl groups did not display nanostructure at any water concentration. IR spectroscopy was used to investigate the nature of water in the various solutions. For low PIL concentrations, the water was predominately present as bulk water for PIL molar fractions less than 0.4-0.5. At high PIL concentrations, in addition to the bulk water, there was a significant proportion of perturbed water, which is water influenced in some way by the cations and anions. The molecular state of the water in the studied amines was predominately present as bulk water, with smaller contributions from perturbed water than was seen in the PILs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2055-2066
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Volume115
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

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