Counteranion-dependent sorption of imidazolium- and benzimidazolium-based ionic liquids by soot

Yue Li, Li Wei, Wen Zhang, Zhiqiang Dong, Yuping Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Sorption of ionic liquids (ILs) to soil and porous materials as affected by anions was observed, but scarce effort has been focused on addressing the role of counteranions in sorption and the associated underlying mechanisms. In this work, two series of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium- (Bmim-) and N-butyl, methyl-benzimidazolium-based (Bmbim-based) ILs coupled with different counteranions were prepared to investigate the effect of anions on IL sorption by soot. The octanol–water partition coefficient (Kow) and the ion-pair formation constant at infinite dilution in water (KIP°) of ILs were independently measured to explore the contribution of counteranion-dependent hydrophobicity and ion-pair. A wide range of sorption coefficients (Kd) of ILs were achieved with values varying from 59.8 to 344.3 L·kg−1 for Bmbim-based ILs and from 253.4 to 489.7 L kg−1 for Bmbim-based ILs. Compared with other anions, bis(trifluoromethanesulphonyl)imide ([Tf2N]) and hexafluorophosphate ([PF6]) exhibit tighter association with IL cations in aqueous solution due to their larger Kow and higher KIP°. Positive linear relationships between log KIP° and Kd and between log Kow and Kd evidenced that the counteranion-dependent sorption of ILs relies on the association strengths of IL cations and counteranions, which further influence the hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity of ion pairs. Compared with that of strongly coordinating anions (such as [CH3SO3], [CF3COO], [BF4], [CF3SO3], and [Cl]), the addition of weakly coordinating anions (such as [Tf2N] and [PF6]) in solution contributes to markedly large sorption enhancement of ILs. Consequently, the contribution of different counteranions on IL sorption is essentially based on the formation of ion pair with different KIP° and Kow in aqueous solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-271
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


  • Counteranion
  • Ion-pair formation constant
  • Ionic liquids
  • Sorption


Dive into the research topics of 'Counteranion-dependent sorption of imidazolium- and benzimidazolium-based ionic liquids by soot'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this