Journal of Physical Chemistry B vol:118 issue:26 pages:7440-7449
Novel difunctionalized ionic liquids (ILs) containing a triethylene glycol monomethyl ether chain and a nitrile group on a pyrrolidinium or imidazolium cation have been synthesized and incorporated into supported ionic liquid membranes (SILMs). These ILs exhibit ca. 2.3 times higher CO2/N2 and CO2/CH4 gas separation selectivities than analogous ILs functionalized only with a glycol chain. Although the glycol moiety ensures room temperature liquidity of the pyrrolidinium and imidazolium ILs, the two classes of ILs benefit from the presence of a nitrile group in different ways. The difunctionalized pyrrolidinium ILs exhibit an increase in CO2 permeance, whereas the permeances of the contaminant gases rise negligibly, resulting in high gas separation selectivities. In the imidazolium ILs, the presence of a nitrile group does not always increase the CO2 permeance nor does it increase the CO2 solubility, as showed in situ by the ATR-FTIR spectroscopic method. High selectivity of these ILs is caused by the considerably reduced permeances of N2 and CH4, most likely due to the ability of the −CN group to reject the nonpolar contaminant gases. Apart from the CO2 solubility, IL–CO2 interactions and IL swelling were studied with the in situ ATR-FTIR spectroscopy. Different strengths of the IL–CO2 interactions were found to be the major difference between the two classes of ILs. The difunctionalized ILs interacted stronger with CO2 than the glycol-functionalized ILs, as manifested in the smaller bandwidths of the bending mode band of CO2 for the latter.