Thermoreversible partitioning of poly(ethylene oxide)s between water and a hydrophobic ionic liquid

Zhifeng Bai, Michael W. Nagy, Bin Zhao, Timothy P. Lodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We describe a poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) homopolymer "shuttle" between water and a hydrophobic ionic liquid, 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide ([EMIM][TFSI]). PEO homopolymers with varying molecular weight transferred reversibly and quantitatively between water at room temperature and [EMIM][TFSI] at an elevated temperature. The temperature of the transfer from water to [EMIM][TFSI] shows a linear dependence on PEO molecular weight and a dependence on polymer concentration consistent with expectation based on Flory-Huggins theory. These results are also consistent with the previously observed lower critical solution temperature (LCST) behavior of PEO in water. Dynamic light scattering study of the concentration and temperature dependence of the swelling degree of PEO corona of polybutadiene (PB)-PEO block copolymer micelles indicates that the solvent quality of [EMIM][TFSI] for PEO remains essentially the same as a good solvent over the temperature range of the PEO shuttle. Fundamental understanding of the PEO shuttle is of significance in development of systems for phase transfer of reagents and reaction products between ionic liquids and water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8201-8208
Number of pages8
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 15 2014

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