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Induced Amphotropic and Thermotropic Ionic Liquid Crystallinity in Phosphonium Halides:  “Lubrication” by Hydroxyl Groups

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journal contribution
posted on 02.04.2020, 17:39 by Kefeng Ma, B. S. Somashekhar, G. A. Nagana Gowda, C. L. Khetrapal, Richard G. Weiss
The influence of covalently attaching hydroxymethylene to the methyl groups of methyl-tri-n-alkylphosphonium halides (where the alkyl chains are decyl, tetradecyl, or octadecyl and the halide is chloride or bromide) or adding methanol as a solute to the salts on their solid, liquid-crystalline (smectic A2), and isotropic phases has been investigated using a variety of experimental techniques. These structural and compositional changes are found to induce liquid crystallinity in some cases and to enhance the temperature range and lower the onset temperature of the liquid-crystalline phases in some others. The results are interpreted in terms of the lengths of the three n-alkyl chains attached to the phosphorus cation, the nature of the halide anion, the influence of H-bonding interactions at the head group regions of the layered phases, and other solvent−solute interactions. The fact that at least 1 molar equiv of methanol must be added to effect complete (isothermal) conversion of a solid methyl-tri-n-alkylphosphonium salt to a liquid crystal demonstrates a direct and strong association between individual methanol molecules and the phosphonium salts. Possible applications of such systems are suggested.