Specialised Chemicals Research Group CRI
The research of the Specialised Chemicals Research Group (SCRG) at QIU deals with the fundamentals and applications of Ionic Liquids (ILs). Ionic Liquids are solvents that consist entirely of charges – positive and negative. These cations and anions can be changed independently depending on the properties that we want. Ionic Liquids can solubilise gases and possess low vapor pressure; they are also non-volatile and safe to the environment.
These solvents have been used in many applications pertaining to the experimental objective. Here at QIU, our research group focuses on the many applications of Ionic Liquids. These include the applications of Ionic Liquids as a new alternative in capturing CO2.
The current technologies in capturing CO2 use amines. However, amines suffer several drawbacks such as high vapor pressures, a corrosive nature and a high-energy requirement for regeneration. Therefore, a new solvent to replace amines is urgently needed.
Another vast application of ILs is for corrosion inhibition. Corrosion is a natural interaction between a material – commonly metal – with its environment, resulting in deterioration of the material and environment. Ionic Liquid-metal coating is one of the favored corrosion control techniques used broadly in electronic components, decorative plating, semiconductors and printed circuit board.
It has shown to be of great interest to researchers due to its promising corrosion and wear resistance properties, its excellent throwing power and its capability to plate complex shapes, conductive and nonconductive surfaces and holes.
Apart from that, we also work on creating new biosurfactant-ILs based oil dispersants, studying the microbial adaptation to ILs and removing toxicants from wastewater. As ILs are highly insoluble in water, its release into the sea or rivers may damage aquatic organisms and the ecosystem. ILs are also resistant to photodegradation, making them a threat to aquatic organisms.
For these reasons, proactive actions have been taken to evaluate the ecotoxicity of the ILs and the environmental hazards of these solvents. This includes assessing their threat to organisms of various levels such as flora, fauna, and microorganisms.
Laboratory ecotoxicity studies examine the relationship between exposure and its effect under controlled conditions to determine threshold toxicity concentrations. We focus on an integrated approach to ecotoxicity and environmental risk assessments. We adopt an integrated methodological approach combining biochemical and biophysical techniques, while collaborating closely with other national and international research groups.