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Effect of gamma irradiation on gas-ionic liquid and water-ionic liquid interfacial stability

Howett, Susan E., Joseph, Jiju M., Noël, James J., Wren, J. Clara
Journal of colloid and interface science 2011 v.361 no.1 pp. 338-350
Raman spectroscopy, air, emulsifying, emulsions, gamma radiation, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, headspace analysis, irradiation, micelles, spectrometers, surfactants, viscosity
The effect of γ-radiation on gas-ionic liquid (IL) and water-IL interfacial stability was investigated. Three phosphonium-based ILs, which vary considerably in their viscosity, conductivity and miscibility with water, were examined. The gas phase above the IL samples (headspace gas) was analyzed using gas chromatography with a mass spectrometer detector while the changes in the IL and aqueous phases were followed by conductivity measurements and Raman spectroscopy. For the gas-IL systems, the headspace samples showed trace amounts of the radiolytic decomposition products of the ILs that were small and volatile enough to become airborne. The type of cover gas, air or Ar, had no effect on the gas speciation. Negligible changes in the conductivity and the Raman spectra of the IL phase due to irradiation indicate that γ-irradiation induces negligible chemical changes in the IL phase when it is in contact with a gas phase. For the water-IL systems, the initially immiscible layers slowly developed an interfacial emulsion layer, even in the absence of radiation. This layer started at the water-IL interface and then grew downwards, eventually converting the entire IL phase to an emulsion. Gamma-irradiation accelerated the conversion of the IL phase to an emulsion. The development of the emulsion layer was accompanied by changes in the conductivity and the Raman spectra of both the IL and water phases. Based on these results, a mechanism involving the formation of micelles at, or near, the water-IL interface has been proposed to explain the development of an emulsion layer. We also suggest that radiolytic decomposition of ILs produces surfactants that can accumulate at the interface and, even at low concentrations, accelerate the emulsification process.