High internal ionic liquid phase emulsion stabilized by metal–organic frameworks
The emulsification of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) for the two immiscible phases of water and ionic liquid (IL) was investigated for the first time. It was found that Ni-BDC (BDC = 1,4-dicarboxybenzene) can emulsify water and ILs and favor the formation of high internal phase emulsions (HIPEs) under certain experimental conditions. The microstructures of the HIPEs were characterized by confocal laser scanning microscopy using a fluorescent dye Rhodamine B, which proves that the HIPEs are the IL-in-water type. Further results reveal that the HIPE forms during the IL-in-water to water-in-IL emulsion inversion. The possibilities of the HIPE formation by other MOFs (Cu-BDC and Zn-BDC) were explored and the mechanism for HIPE formation was discussed. The MOF-stabilized HIPE was applied to the in situ synthesis of a MOF/polymer composite by HIPE polymerization. The macroporous MOF/polyacrylamide network and MOF/polystyrene microspheres were obtained from the HIPEs, respectively.