ic5024532_si_002.cif (1.37 MB)

Crystalline and Liquid Structure of Zinc Chloride Trihydrate: A Unique Ionic Liquid

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posted on 02.02.2015, 00:00 by Robert J. Wilcox, Bradley P. Losey, Jacob C. W. Folmer, James D. Martin, Matthias Zeller, Roger Sommer
The water/ZnCl2 phase diagram in the vicinity of the 75 mol % water composition is reported, demonstrating the existence of a congruently melting phase. Single crystals of this 3-equiv hydrate were grown, and the crystal structure of [Zn­(OH2)6]­[ZnCl4] was determined. Synchrotron X-ray and neutron diffraction and IR and Raman spectroscopy along with reverse Monte Carlo modeling demonstrate that a CsCl-type packing of the molecular ions persists into the liquid state. Consistent with the crystalline and liquid structural data, IR spectroscopy demonstrates that the O–H bonds of coordinated water do not exhibit strong intermolecular hydrogen ion bonding but are significantly weakened because of the water’s coordination to Lewis acidic zinc ions. The O–H bond weakening makes this system a very strong hydrogen-bond donor, whereas the ionic packing along with the nonpolar geometry of the molecular ions makes this system a novel nonpolar, hydrogen-bonding, ionic liquid solvent.