Hands-on at this exhibit

  • Build your own ionic liquid
  • Demonstrate why ionic liquids are unique
  • See ionic liquids interact with light
  • Be blown away by our volatility model

Further reading

Plechkova, N.V. & Seddon, K.R. 2008 Applications of ionic liquids in the chemical industry. Chemical Society Reviews 37, 123-150

Borra, E.F. et al. 2007 Deposition of metal films on an ionic liquid for a lunar telescope. Nature 447, 979-981

Deetlefs, M. & Seddon, K.R. 2006 Ionic Liquids: Fact and fiction. Chimica Oggi 24, 16–23

Ionic liquids were voted, by a large margin, as the British Scientific Innovation most likely to influence the course of the 21st century. Our exhibit illustrates why this is true and the impact ionic liquids will have upon the sustainability of our planet, upon the chemical industry, and upon extraplanetary exploration.

Ionic liquids are completely different from conventional liquids such as water and alcohol, due to their physical and chemical properties. Explore the resulting new chemistry involved, and how this can dramatically reduce contamination of our atmosphere.

Ionic liquids represent a new type of liquid – a liquid in which all the components carry an electrical charge, either positive or negative.

There are more than a million simple ionic liquids and, because of their charged nature, their physical properties and chemical properties are completely different from conventional liquids such as water, alcohol, and petrol.

The consequence of this is that the chemistry that can be performed is brand new, and we can select the perfect ionic liquid, tuned to any given application. The charged nature of ionic liquids means that they will not evaporate and therefore not contaminate our atmosphere.

Lead image: An array of fluorescent ionic liquids from the QUILL Research Centre.