The Effects of Chloride Binding on the Behavior of Cellulose-Derived Solutes in the Ionic Liquid 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium Chloride

BD Rabideau and AE Ismail, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 116, 9732-9743 (2012).

DOI: 10.1021/jp305469p

The structure and diffusion of various linear and ringed solutes are examined in two different solvents, the ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (BMIMCl) and SPC/E water, using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The formation of distinctly ordered local solvent environments around these solutes is observed. Specifically, spatial distribution functions reveal significant ordering of the solvents around the solutes with chloride hydroxyl group interactions largely dictating these arrangements. Further, a breakdown of the hydrogen bonds that develop between the solute and solvent is provided, showing a relationship between the presence of additional functional groups and the distribution of hydrogen bonds. The diffusivities of the solutes were determined in water at 298 K, 1 bar and BMIMCl at 400 K, 1 bar. The results show that the solutes were approximately 10-100 times more diffusive in water than in BMIMCl. Within BMIMCl, diffusivity appears to decrease with increasing strength of the hydroxyl groups present. Additionally, the free energies of solvation of the solutes are determined with COSMO-RS, providing information about their tendencies in forming aggregates. These results are then compared with MD results in which aggregation is quantified through the use of a dispersion measure. Though all solutes remained relatively dispersed in each of the solvents, those with hydroxyl groups were seen to be the most highly dispersed in the solvent BMIMCl. Further, the dynamic dispersal of a large solute aggregate into BMIMCl was studied, finding that solutes with hydroxyl groups tend to form complexes with the chloride ions. If strong enough, these chlorides can actually bind multiple solutes together into long chains, inhibiting their dispersal in solvent. It is believed that the formation of these chloride solute complexes is largely responsible for the decreased diffusivity and elevated dispersion seen in simulations with BMIMCl.

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