Joćo A. P. COUTINHO1
1CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro
The nanostructuration of ionic liquids, resulting from their amphiphilic character, is one of the defining characteristics of ionic liquids that, to some extent, remains, or can be recreated, when these are dissolved in aqueous solutions. This lecture discusses the mechanism of solvation of hydrophobic compounds in aqueous solutions of ionic liquids. It will be shown that the dissolution of hydrophobic solvents in aqueous solutions of ionic liquids is distinct of their solvation in the pure solvents and of micellar dissolution. Molecular dynamics simulation and light scattering techniques, showing the formation of large and loose aggregates with a hydrophobic character around the solutes, allowed us to establish that hydrotropy is the leading mechanism of solvation in these systems. Hydrotropy enhances the solubility of hydrophobic solutes by orders of magnitude and makes these mixed solvents far more powerful than the pure water or neat ionic liquid to dissolve some target compounds. Finally we will address the advantages of ionic liquids when compared with conventional ionic hydrotropes.