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Description popularizing the research project
When we hear 'liquid' our first association is water - an apparently ideal liquid: without taste, without smell, colourless, and yet crucial for survival. It is so important because dehydration quickly leads to death, as water is a basic component and environment of every living cell of every living creature. Yet, we have to admit that water is quite a bizarre substance: it is liquid in the range of between 0 and 100°C; once the temperature exceeds 100°C or drops below 0°C, the liquid is all gone. Between the values its behaviour is not stable too as it constantly vaporises. Moreover, we know how much unhealthy is pure water. Water with ions and anions as it is listed in labels of mineral water is much better. Thus, would it be better if mineral water consisted of ions only?
In recent years, ionic liquids became a popular reaction medium. They are used due to their unique properties: a wide range of temperatures in which they can be used, low reactivity, properties, which we can alter by changing the structure of the compound. Ionic liquids have been successfully used as catalysts in many chemical reactions. Our research focused on finding a catalyst for nitroaldol reaction. We researched the reaction of nitroalkane with substituted benzaldehyde. We applied, as a catalyst, the primary amine. The obtained yield of nitrostyrene was between 30 and 45% depending on the substituent R. With ionic liquids yield of the reaction is 97%. We used ammonium and imidazolium based ionic liquids. As the anion we used: chloride, p-toluenesulphonate, hydrosulphate, hydrophosphate. Most of the ionic liquids were obtained in our laboratory. The presented photos show the obtained compounds and ionic liquids which were used in the reactions. Many substances have a very interesting structure. One of the objectives of my project is to determine the structure of the compounds with X-ray structural analysis. It is necessary to obtain the substance as a single crystal. The photographs present the compounds before and after crystallization.