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Local Structure Evolution and its Connection to Thermodynamic and Transport Properties of 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium Tetrafluoroborate and Water Mixtures by Molecular Dynamics Simulations

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journal contribution
posted on 15.03.2012, 00:00 by Xiujuan Zhong, Zhen Fan, Zhiping Liu, Dapeng Cao
Our recently developed improved united atom force field shows a good quality to reproduce both the static and transport properties of neat ionic liquids (ILs). Combined with the TIP4P-Ew water model, the force field is used to simulate the mixture of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate ([C4mim]­[BF4]) and water without further optimization to adjust any cross parameters. Liquid densities of the mixture are well predicted over the entire concentration range at temperatures from 298.15 to 353.15 K. Simulations also reproduce the positive values of excess volumes and excess enthalpies, as well as their increase with temperature. The simulated viscosities are in good agreement with experimental values, especially in the water-rich region. We found three distinct regions by analyzing the concentration dependent self-diffusion coefficients via Stokes–Einstein (SE) relation, indicating the mixture experiences significant microheterogeneity with the adding of water. This observation is well connected to the structure features obtained in simulations, such as radial distribution functions (RDFs), spatial distribution functions (SDFs) and water clustering analysis. At the water mole fraction (x2) less than 0.2, most of the water molecules are isolated in the polar cation–anion network in ionic liquids. With the increase of x2 from 0.2 to 0.8, large water cluster forms and eventually percolates the whole system. When x2 > 0.8, ionic liquids show a moderate degree of aggregation (with maximum around 0.9 to 0.95) before the cations and anions are fully dissolved in water.