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Issue 30, 2011
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Nanostructure changes in protic ionic liquids (PILs) through adding solutes and mixing PILs

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The effect of adding primary n-alcohols with aliphatic chains and hexane on the nanostructure of a series of 14 protic ionic liquids (PILs) was explored using small and wide angle X-ray scattering (SAXS and WAXS). PILs were investigated with primary, secondary and tertiary ammonium cations containing different alkyl chain lengths, with and without hydroxyl substitution of the alkyl chain. Formate or nitrate anions were paired with these cations. The PILs which had no identified intermediate range order between 5–16 Å had very low solubilities of the solutes. The other PILs, which had non-polar domains present, were mostly miscible with the primary alcohols of ethanol, propanol and butanol. When the alkyl chain length of the alcohols was similar to the PILs then the alcohols co-partitioned with the alkylammonium cation components of the PILs and caused either an increase or decrease in the size of the non-polar domains, depending on whether the alcohol chain length was longer or shorter than that of the cation in the PIL respectively. For ethylammonium nitrate (EAN) with propanol or butanol and propylammonium nitrate (PAN) with butanol, the difference between the alcohol chain length and the alkyl chain length was too great to lead to a modified nanostructure, and instead large aggregates were present. The solubility of hexane in the alkylammonium nitrate PILs had a very strong correlation to the alkyl chain length. The addition of hexane had very little effect on the non-polar domain sizes, which was attributed to it not being orientated in alignment with the alkylammonium cations in the non-polar domains. Lastly, seven binary PIL–PIL solution series were investigated using SAXS and WAXS to show how the nanostructure of these systems can be fine tuned to control the size and structure of the non-polar domains.

Graphical abstract: Nanostructure changes in protic ionic liquids (PILs) through adding solutes and mixing PILs

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The article was received on 23 Feb 2011, accepted on 11 May 2011 and first published on 08 Jun 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1CP20496C
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011,13, 13501-13509

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    Nanostructure changes in protic ionic liquids (PILs) through adding solutes and mixing PILs

    T. L. Greaves, D. F. Kennedy, N. Kirby and C. J. Drummond, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011, 13, 13501
    DOI: 10.1039/C1CP20496C

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