Ionic Liquids As Tunable Toxicity Storage Media for Sustainable Chemical Waste Management
mediaposted on 21.11.2017, 16:02 by Marina M. Seitkalieva, Alexey S. Kashin, Ksenia S. Egorova, Valentine P. Ananikov
Storage and handling of toxic wastes is a top-priority challenge for sustainable development and public health. In recent years, the risk of irreversible environmental pollution has been increasing gradually, necessitating the development of new concepts in this highly demanding area. Here, we report a flexible approach to address the problem using tunable ionic liquids as a carrier and storage medium for chemicals. Encapsulation in microscale tunable media surrounded by an inert ionic liquid facilitates the efficient capture of chemicals. The adaptive character of the designed microscale compartments opens new possibilities for the waste management of chemicals of a diverse nature. Real-time field-emission scanning electron microscopy was used to visualize the formation of microscale compartments upon the sequestration of chemicals in ionic liquids. Ionic liquids captured the chemicals better than traditional organic solvents or water; moreover, the chemicals subsequently could be effectively extracted for destruction or utilization. Our work presents a new model for the sustainable management of chemical wastes; the concept was evaluated for a number of multiton chemicals currently affecting our environment.