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Structural Features of the [C4mim][Cl] Ionic Liquid and Its Mixtures with Water: Insight from a 1H NMR Experimental and QM/MD Study

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journal contribution
posted on 22.11.2021, 15:35 by Dovilė Lengvinaitė, Sonata Kvedaraviciute, Stasė Bielskutė, Vytautas Klimavicius, Vytautas Balevicius, Francesca Mocci, Aatto Laaksonen, Kęstutis Aidas
The 1H NMR chemical shift of water exhibits non-monotonic dependence on the composition of an aqueous mixture of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride, [C4mim]­[Cl], ionic liquid (IL). A clear minimum is observed for the 1H NMR chemical shift at a molar fraction of the IL of 0.34. To scrutinize the molecular mechanism behind this phenomenon, extensive classical molecular dynamics simulations of [C4mim]­[Cl] IL and its mixtures with water were carried out. A combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics approach based on the density functional theory was applied to predict the NMR chemical shifts. The proliferation of strongly hydrogen-bonded complexes between chloride anions and water molecules is found to be the reason behind the increasing 1H NMR chemical shift of water when its molar fraction in the mixture is low and decreasing. The model shows that the chemical shift of water molecules that are trapped in the IL matrix without direct hydrogen bonding to the anions is considerably smaller than the 1H NMR chemical shift predicted for the neat water. The structural features of neat IL and its mixtures with water have also been analyzed in relation to their NMR properties. The 1H NMR spectrum of neat [C4mim]­[Cl] was predicted and found to be in very reasonable agreement with the experimental data. Finally, the experimentally observed strong dependence of the chemical shift of the proton at position 2 in the imidazolium ring on the composition of the mixture was rationalized.