We describe a fluidity and conductivity study as a function of composition in N-methylpyrrolidine–acetic acid mixtures. The simple 1 : 1 acid–base mixture appears to form an ionic liquid, but its degree of ionicity is quite low and such liquids are better thought of as poorly dissociated mixtures of acid and base. The composition consisting of 3 moles acetic acid and 1 mole N-methylpyrrolidine is shown to form the highest ionicity mixture in this binary due to the presence of oligomeric anionic species [(AcO)xHx−1]− stabilised by hydrogen bonds. These oligomeric species, being weaker bases than the acetate anion, shift the proton transfer equilibrium towards formation of ionic species, thus generating a higher degree of ionicity than is present at the 1 : 1 composition. A Walden plot analysis, thermogravimetric behaviour and proton NMR data, as well as ab initio calculations of the oligomeric species, all support this conclusion.
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