Characterization and comparison of hydrophilic and hydrophobic room temperature ionic liquids incorporating the imidazolium cation
A series of hydrophilic and hydrophobic 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) have been prepared and characterized to determine how water content, density, viscosity, surface tension, melting point, and thermal stability are affected by changes in alkyl chain length and anion. In the series of RTILs studied here, the choice of anion determines water miscibility and has the most dramatic effect on the properties. Hydrophilic anions (e.g., chloride and iodide) produce ionic liquids that are miscible in any proportion with water but, upon the removal of some water from the solution, illustrate how sensitive the physical properties are to a change in water content. In comparison, for ionic liquids containing more hydrophobic anions (e.g., PF6− and N(SO2CF3)2−), the removal of water has a smaller affect on the resulting properties. For a series of 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium cations, increasing the alkyl chain length from butyl to hexyl to octyl increases the hydrophobicity and the viscosities of the ionic liquids increase, whereas densities and surface tension values decrease. Thermal analyses indicate high temperatures are attainable prior to decomposition and DSC studies reveal a glass transition for several samples. ILs incorporating PF6− have been used in liquid/liquid partitioning of organic molecules from water and the results for two of these are also discussed here. On a cautionary note, the chemistry of the individual cations and anions of the ILs should not be overlooked as, in the case of certain conditions for PF6− ILs, contact with an aqueous phase may result in slow hydrolysis of the PF6− with the concomitant release of HF and other species.