Organic solvents for catalysis and organic reactions
Blasucci, Vittoria Madonna
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We develop, characterize, and apply novel solvent systems for enhanced separations. The field of separations has long been explored by chemical engineers. One way to optimize separations is through solvent manipulation. Through molecular design, smart solvents can be created which accomplish this task. Smart solvents undergo step or gradual changes in properties when activated by a stimulus. These property changes enable unique chemistry and separations. This thesis explores the application of two different types of smart solvents: switchable and tunable solvents. First we show that a neutral liquid can react with carbon dioxide and be switched into an ionic liquid which can then be thermally reversed back to its molecular form. Each form that the solvent takes has unique properties that can be structurally tuned to span a large range. We also look at a tunable solvent system based on polyethylene glycol/dioxane that is initially homogeneous, but induced to a heterogeneous system through carbon dioxide pressurization. Finally, we look at the advantage of using carbon dioxide as a co-solvent that is easily removed post-reaction for the grafting of silanes onto polyolefin backbones.