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Pure Appl. Chem., 2013, Vol. 85, No. 10, pp. 1979-1990

Published online 2013-04-28

Towards solvent-controlled reactivity in ionic liquids

Hon Man Yau1, Sinead T. Keaveney1, Bradley J. Butler1, Eden E. L. Tanner1, Max S. Guerry1, Stephen R. D. George1, Michelle H. Dunn1, Anna K. Croft2 and Jason B. Harper1*

1 School of Chemistry, University of New South Wales, UNSW Sydney 2052, Australia
2 Process and Environmental Research Division, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK

Abstract: Ionic liquids are frequently touted as alternatives to traditional molecular solvents but are limited in their applicability as the outcome of reactions may be altered on moving from a molecular to an ionic solvent. This manuscript summarizes our progress towards a predictive framework through understanding how ionic solvents affect organic processes, with an emphasis on how these findings might be applied. Particularly, we will consider the importance of the mole fraction of the ionic liquid used, including some hitherto undisclosed results, as well as the importance of understanding the key interactions of the solvent with the components along the reaction coordinate.