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Pure Appl. Chem., 2009, Vol. 81, No. 4, pp. 767-776

Ionic liquids: Solvation ability and polarity

Cinzia Chiappe1, Marco Malvaldi1 and Christian Silvio Pomelli2

1 Dipartimento di Chimica Bioorganica e Biofarmacia, Università di Pisa, Via Bonanno Pisano, 25 56100 Pisa, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale, Via Risorgimento, 35 56100 Pisa, Italy

Abstract: The role of ionic liquids (ILs) as solvents in chemistry is limited by the poor understanding of the solvation phenomenon in these media. The usual classification criteria used for molecular solvents through various experimental measurements fail to insert ILs into a univocal classification for ILs. Here, we first discuss the unsuitability of the usual interpretative scheme for molecular liquids and elucidate schematically the mechanism of solvation in ILs, pointing out the peculiarities that differentiate them with respect to molecular liquids. Second, we focus on reactivity and reaction kinetics in ILs, underlining the many problems that the complexity of these media reflects on the interpretation of kinetic data and some possible approaches to understand qualitatively the (often not trivial) kinetic problems for reactions performed in ILs.