The Science Department launched the Ionic Liquids Project - our first research initiative in collaboration with the Chemistry Department of University College London.
The project is a student-led research investigation in which 14 students, mainly from the Sixth Form, are working in association with Dr Robert Palgrave, a senior Chemistry professor at UCL.
The project, headed by student leader Christina Ko and organised by Sue Harris, Senior Technician and outreach coordinator, is an exciting collaboration between Benenden and one of the top Russell Group universities in the UK.
Students will synthesise ionic liquids using the facilities and equipment in our Science Centre and then use simple analytical methods to check properties such as melting point, boiling point and viscosity. The results will be recorded and shared with Dr Palgrave who is investigating various innovative uses for ionic liquids in industry.
Students taking part in the project will get the opportunity to visit UCL on a quarterly basis in order to execute further in-depth analysis of their synthesised samples using the high-tech NMR and Mass Spec equipment available in the university's laboratories.
What are ionic liquids?
An ionic liquid is a salt in the liquid state. They are largely made of ions and short-lived ion pairs, this compares to ordinary liquids, such as gas and water, which are predominantly made of electrically neutral molecules.
Ionic liquids are known as ‘solvents of the future’ and are described as having many potential applications. They are powerful solvents and electrically conducting fluids and are important for electric battery applications and have been considered as sealants due to their very low vapour pressure.