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Review

Thermoresponsive Ionic Liquid/Water Mixtures: From Nanostructuring to Phase Separation

1
Institut für Physik, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Staudingerweg 9, 55128 Mainz, Germany
2
Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Ackermannweg 10, 55128 Mainz, Germany
3
School of Physics, University College Dublin, 94568 Dublin, Ireland
4
Conway Institute for Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, 94568 Dublin, Ireland
5
Department of Sciences, University of Roma Tre, 00146 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Antonin Chapoy
Molecules 2022, 27(5), 1647; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27051647
Received: 17 January 2022 / Revised: 15 February 2022 / Accepted: 28 February 2022 / Published: 2 March 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exclusive Review Papers in Molecular Liquids)
The thermodynamics, structures, and applications of thermoresponsive systems, consisting primarily of water solutions of organic salts, are reviewed. The focus is on organic salts of low melting temperatures, belonging to the ionic liquid (IL) family. The thermo-responsiveness is represented by a temperature driven transition between a homogeneous liquid state and a biphasic state, comprising an IL-rich phase and a solvent-rich phase, divided by a relatively sharp interface. Demixing occurs either with decreasing temperatures, developing from an upper critical solution temperature (UCST), or, less often, with increasing temperatures, arising from a lower critical solution temperature (LCST). In the former case, the enthalpy and entropy of mixing are both positive, and enthalpy prevails at low T. In the latter case, the enthalpy and entropy of mixing are both negative, and entropy drives the demixing with increasing T. Experiments and computer simulations highlight the contiguity of these phase separations with the nanoscale inhomogeneity (nanostructuring), displayed by several ILs and IL solutions. Current applications in extraction, separation, and catalysis are briefly reviewed. Moreover, future applications in forward osmosis desalination, low-enthalpy thermal storage, and water harvesting from the atmosphere are discussed in more detail. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoresponsive solutions; ionic liquids; UCST; LCST; nanostructured liquids; computer simulation; desalination; forward osmosis thermoresponsive solutions; ionic liquids; UCST; LCST; nanostructured liquids; computer simulation; desalination; forward osmosis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Forero-Martinez, N.C.; Cortes-Huerto, R.; Benedetto, A.; Ballone, P. Thermoresponsive Ionic Liquid/Water Mixtures: From Nanostructuring to Phase Separation. Molecules 2022, 27, 1647. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27051647

AMA Style

Forero-Martinez NC, Cortes-Huerto R, Benedetto A, Ballone P. Thermoresponsive Ionic Liquid/Water Mixtures: From Nanostructuring to Phase Separation. Molecules. 2022; 27(5):1647. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27051647

Chicago/Turabian Style

Forero-Martinez, Nancy C., Robinson Cortes-Huerto, Antonio Benedetto, and Pietro Ballone. 2022. "Thermoresponsive Ionic Liquid/Water Mixtures: From Nanostructuring to Phase Separation" Molecules 27, no. 5: 1647. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27051647

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