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Electronic and Steric Effects: How Do They Work in Ionic Liquids? The Case of Benzoic Acid Dissociation

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journal contribution
posted on 16.07.2010, 00:00 by Francesca D’Anna, Salvatore Marullo, Paola Vitale, Renato Noto
The need to have a measure of the strength of some substituted benzoic acids in ionic liquid solution led us to use the protonation equilibrium of sodium p-nitrophenolate as a probe reaction, which was studied by means of spectrophotometric titration at 298 K. In order to evaluate the importance of electronic effect of the substituents present on the aromatic ring, both electron-withdrawing and -donor substituents were taken into account. Furthermore, to have a measure of the importance of the steric effect of the substituents both para- and ortho-substituted benzoic acids were analyzed. The probe reaction was studied in two ionic liquids differing for the ability of the cation to give hydrogen bond and π−π interactions, namely [bm2im][NTf2] and [bmpyrr][NTf2]. Data collected show that benzoic acids are less dissociated in ionic liquid than in water solution. Furthermore, the equilibrium constant values seem to be significantly affected by both the nature of ionic liquid cation and the structure of the acid. In particular, the ortho-steric effect seems to operate differently in water and in the aromatic ionic liquid, determining in this solvent medium a particular behavior for ortho-substituted benzoic acids.