Synthesis of Ionic Liquids in Flow

    An ionic liquid (IL) is a salt in the liquid state.    While an ordinary liquids such as water is predominantly made of electrically neutral molecules, ionic liquids are largely made of ions. Ionic liquids are variously called liquid electrolytes, ionic melts, ionic fluids, fused salts, liquid salts, or ionic glasses.

    Ionic liquids have many applications, such as powerful solvents and electrically conducting fluids. Ionic Liquids are also used in gas storage and handling applications, certain gas transport companies use ionic liquids instead of pressurized cylinders as a transport medium for reactive gases  The gases are dissolved in the liquids at or below atmospheric pressure and are withdrawn from the containers by applying a partial vacuum.

    The synthesis of many ionic liquids involves a highly exothermic reaction step.  By way of example, formed by mixing a carboxylic acid (e.g. formic acid) with an amine (e.g. n-butyl amine, ethyl amine).  Flow chemistry systems are particularly well suited to controlling these types of exothermic reactions.

    Examples of published literature for Synthesis of Ionic Liquids in Flow

    Modeling and Design of a Flow-Microreactor-Based Process for Synthesizing Ionic Liquids

    Yuichi Nakahara *†⊥, Bert Metten , Osamu Tonomura §⊥, Aiichiro Nagaki ∥⊥, Shinji Hasebe §⊥, Jun-ichi Yoshida ⊥#, Francesco Molinari 1

    • New Frontiers Research Group, Frontier Research Laboratories, Institute For Innovation, Ajinomoto Co., Inc., 1-1 Suzuki-cho, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 210-8681, Japan
    • Ajinomoto Bio Pharma Services, Cooppallaan 91, B-9230 Wetteren, Belgium
    • § Department of Chemical Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto 615-8510, Japan
    • Department of Synthetic Chemistry and Biological Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto 615-8510, Japan
    • Micro Chemical Production Study Consortium in Kyoto University, Kyoto University, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto 615-8510, Japan
    • # National Institute of Technology, Suzuka College, Shiroko-cho, Suzuka, Mie 510-0294, Japan
    View abstract

    Application Notes regarding Synthesis of Ionic Liquids in Flow

    Application Note 24: Solvent Free Synthesis of an Imidazolium based Ionic Liquid under Continuous Flow Conditions


    This example illustrates the use of the Vapourtec R-series to safely control the highly exothermic synthesis of the first generation ionic liquid [bmim]Br as well as handling the highly viscous product.

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