Ionic liquids: ‘Do not shake it’


Merchandise with sediment, similar to soy milk, usually point out on their packaging that the combination ought to be shaken effectively earlier than consuming. Nevertheless, there are occasions when it’s preferable to not combine all the things collectively. Lately, a staff of researchers from Pohang College of Science and Expertise (POSTECH), the Korea Analysis Institute of Chemical Expertise, and Chonnam Nationwide College has developed a way to separate well-mixed mixtures, and this innovation is gaining consideration within the educational group.

The analysis staff led by Professor Jee-hoon Han from the Division of Chemical Engineering at POSTECH collaborated with Director Ji Hoon Park, Principal Researcher Soo Min Kim, and Researcher Myungho Choi from CO2 & Power Analysis Heart on the Korea Analysis Institute of Chemical Expertise, and Chonnam Nationwide College Professor Jaewon Byun to create a course of expertise for the environment friendly synthesis and purification of ionic liquids. Their analysis was lately featured as the duvet paper within the on-line version of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Analysis (I&EC Analysis), a global journal within the discipline of chemical engineering.

Ionic liquids are salts that stay in a liquid state at room temperature and even at comparatively low temperatures because of sturdy electrical interactions between their ions. In contrast to frequent salts, they possess distinctive properties similar to nonflammability, low volatility, and thermal and chemical stability, making them worthwhile for varied industrial functions together with catalysts and electrolytes.

Probably the most studied ionic liquids is [bmim][BF4], identified for its excessive stability and low toxicity. Nevertheless, the advanced and costly technique of eradicating impurities similar to lithium chloride (LiCl) throughout synthesis has been a big barrier to the expertise’s commercialization.

On this research, the researchers employed halocarbon refrigerants — particularly, chlorodifluoromethane (Rf-22) — to synthesize the ionic liquid [bmim][BF4] extra economically and effectively than conventional strategies. By utilizing Rf-22 as a section separation mediator, they had been in a position to induce a combination containing methylimidazole to separate into two distinct layers, just like the separation of oil and water.

The staff noticed section separation by various the ratios of [bmim][BF4], water, and halocarbon mixtures. They then utilized the collected knowledge to a ternary section diagram mannequin. This mannequin visually represents the composition and phases of a combination containing three totally different parts and is used to foretell the section fashioned primarily based on the proportions of every ingredient.

Utilizing the ternary section diagram modeling, the researchers efficiently produced high-purity [bmim][BF4] with a purity exceeding 99%. Moreover, they had been in a position to successfully recuperate and recycle the layer containing methylimidazole which didn’t take part within the synthesis response.

The staff then carried out course of simulations to judge the financial feasibility of the purification expertise developed on this research. Primarily based on a value evaluation for producing 1 ton of [bmim][BF4] per day, they decided that the minimal promoting worth could be about $12,000 per ton. That is extra aggressive than present course of applied sciences, demonstrating the potential for commercializing the expertise.

Professor Jee-hoon Han of POSTECH acknowledged, “We hope this analysis will advance the commercialization of ionic liquids and supply sensible industrial options primarily based on our understanding of those substances.” Principal Researcher Soo Min Kim from the Korea Analysis Institute of Chemical Expertise expressed the importance of the analysis by saying, “This method will also be utilized to different solvents, enabling the synthesis of a variety of high-purity ionic liquids.”

The analysis was carried out with assist the Younger Researcher Program of the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Primary Program of Korea Analysis Institute of Chemical Expertise.

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