The first week of summer research started slowly, but remains promising for exciting things to come. The ionic liquid cations I intend to work with, 1-alkyl-2,3-dimethylimidazolium and 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium, are proving difficult to find. Research in the literature has shown that it is possible to synthesize both, should they be too expensive to purchase, but uncertainties about the efficiency of such processes are leading to further delays.
In the meantime, I’ve continued to delve through the literature in an attempt to anticipate the viscosities of such systems. I’ve found that, among other factors, the absolute viscosity (there’s more than one) of ionic liquids can depend on the identity of both cation and anion, with size playing a role. The intended anion, bis(trifluoromethylsolfonyl)imide, appears to be appropriately large, in order to decrease the viscosities and keep our data within the range of our instruments. Additionally, the temperature regime will need to be considered, as all things (in my experience) tend to move slower (increase viscosity) as the system gets colder. Unfortunately, it appears that [C4C1mim]TFSI, which is the short end of the chain, can get up to 300 cP when the temperature is under 288 K. This means we may need to either stay above 300 K, or restrict the alkyl chain to under C8, if we don’t want to overtax the viscometer.
Another project of mine for the summer is to doctor/diagnose the Bruker FTIR. This is a continuation of the work I was doing in Winter Term for Instrumental Analysis, and is as much of a task now as it was then. The primary issues continue to be a misalignment of the fixed mirror, as well as a yet-unclear issue with the scanner. From what I understand, the scanner can move as it should, but isn’t appropriately conversing with the computer about how it’s moving. Early next week I will focus on finding both the alignment and the connections to sort it all out.