Protic ionic liquids (PILs) are promising alternatives to water for swelling Nafion as a fuel cell proton exchange membrane (PEM). PILs can significantly improve the high-temperature performance of a PEM. The proton dissociation and solvation mechanisms in a PIL, which are keys to understanding the proton transportation and conductivity, have not been fully explored. In this paper, we used FTIR, Raman, and electronic spectroscopy with computational simulation techniques to explore the spectroscopic properties of bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide (HTFSI) solutions in 1-butyl-3- methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide (BMITFSI) ionic liquid at concentrations from ∼0.1 to as high as ∼1.0 M. Solution conductivities were measured at room temperature and elevated temperatures up to ∼65 °C. The solution structure and properties depend on the concentration of HTFSI. At lower concentration, around 0.1 M, the HTFSI solution has higher conductivity than pure BMITFSI. However, the conductivity decreases when the concentration increases from 0.1 to 1.0 M. Temperature-dependent conductivities followed the Vogel-Fulcher-Tamman equation at all concentrations. Conductivity and spectroscopy results elucidate the complicated ionization and solvation mechanism of HTFSI in BMITFSI solutions. Raman spectroscopy and density functional theory (DFT) calculations are consistent with the complete ionization of HTFSI to generate solvated H+ at low concentrations. FTIR, Raman, and electronic spectroscopic results as well as DFT computational simulation indicated that when the concentration is as high as 1.0 M, a significant amount of TFSI- is protonated, most likely at the imide nitrogen.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry