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Upper critical solution temperature (UCST)-type phase behavior was observed in the critical mixture of water (W) and hydrophobic ionic liquid, 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate (IL), by refractive index and fluorescence measurements. The phase separation temperature depends on the composition of IL as well as water. Furthermore, for the first time, the behavior of high molecular weight polymer polyacrylic acid, PAA (Mw = 450000 g mol−1), as an impurity in the UCST mixture was investigated by simultaneous refractive index (n) measurements for both the coexisting phases of ILW. The refractive index in each phase of ILW as well as three different PAA concentrations (C = 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 mg cm−3) in the near critical composition of ILW have been measured at temperatures below the system's upper critical point. We observed that the polymer significantly affected on the critical region of ILW. The phase-transition region of coexisting phases of ILW significantly shifts down with an increase in the concentrations of PAA. The Tc values decreases linearly from 58.256 (free of PAA) to 55.168 °C (PAA in ILW) with increasing PAA concentrations in ILW. This indicates that the polymer chain entangles with the coexisting phases, thereby the polymer monomers strongly interact with neighbor solvent particles. At temperatures T close enough to Tc, the critical exponent (β) values were obtained from the measured n values of both the coexisting liquid phases and was found to increase from 0.332 to 0.379, when the PAA concentration changes from 0.5 to 1.5 mg cm−3. The obtained 3D Ising values are modified in the presence of PAA and obviously belong to the renormalized class. These values are higher than that of 0.326 ± 0.002 of pure ILW, which is compatible with the 3D Ising value β = 0.325. In addition, we have performed the fluorescence measurement for the determination of Tc for ILW and in the presence of PAA as an impurity. The observed increase in the fluorescence intensities with temperature predicts unambiguously the formation of the solvation structure at Tc for the critical mixture in presence of the polymer.
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