Improving Cellulose Dissolution in Ionic Liquids by Tuning the Size of the Ions: Impact of the Length of the Alkyl Chains in Tetraalkylammonium Carboxylate

XQ Meng and J Devemy and V Verney and A Gautier and P Husson and JM Andanson, CHEMSUSCHEM, 10, 1749-1760 (2017).

DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201601830

Twenty ionic liquids based on tetraalkylammonium cations and carboxylate anions have been synthesized, characterized, and tested for cellulose dissolution. The amount of cellulose dissolved in these ionic liquids depends strongly on the size of the ions: from 0 to 22wt% cellulose can be dissolved at 90 degrees C. The best ionic liquids are less viscous and ammonium carboxylate based ionic liquids can dissolve as much as imidazolium-based ones. The viscosity of an ionic liquid can be decreased by the addition of DMSO as a cosolvent. After the addition of cosolvent, similar amounts of cellulose per ions are reached for most ionic liquids. As observed by rheology, ionic liquids with the longest alkyl chains form a gel when a high amount of cellulose is dissolved; this drastically limits their potential. Molecular simulations and IR spectroscopy have also been used with the aim of understanding how molecular interactions differ between efficient and inefficient ionic liquids.

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