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Alkoxy Chain Effect on the Viscosity of a Quaternary Ammonium Ionic Liquid: Molecular Dynamics Simulations

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journal contribution
posted on 29.01.2009, 00:00 by Leonardo J. A. Siqueira, Mauro C. C. Ribeiro
The viscosity of ionic liquids based on quaternary ammonium cations is reduced when one of the alkyl chains is replaced by an alkoxy chain (Zhou et al. Chem. Eur. J. 2005, 11, 752.). A microscopic picture of the role played by the ether function in decreasing the viscosity of quaternary ammonium ionic liquids is provided here by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. A model for the ionic liquid N-ethyl-N,N-dimethyl-N-(2-methoxyethyl)ammonium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide, MOENM2E TFSI, is compared to the tetraalkylammonium counterpart. The alkoxy derivative has lower viscosity, higher ionic diffusion coefficients, and higher conductivity than the tetraalkyl system at the same density and temperature. A clear signature of the ether function on the liquid structure is observed in cation−cation correlations, but not in anion−anion or anion−cation correlations. In both the alkyl and the alkoxy ionic liquids, there is aggregation of long chains of neighboring cations within micelle-like structures. The MD simulations indicate that the less effective assembly between the more flexible alkoxy chains, in comparison to alkyl chains, is the structural reason for higher ionic mobility in MOENM2E TFSI.