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Electrochemical Modulation of the Flammability of Ionic Liquid Fuels

Cite this: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2023, 145, 30, 16318–16323
Publication Date (Web):July 24, 2023
https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.3c04820
Copyright © 2023 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

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    Flammability and combustion of high energy density liquid propellants are controlled by their volatility. We demonstrate a new concept through which the volatility of a high energy density ionic liquid propellant can be dynamically manipulated enabling one to (a) store a thermally insensitive oxidation resistant nonflammable fuel, (b) generate flammable vapor phase species electrochemically by applying a direct-current voltage bias, and (c) extinguish its flame by removing the voltage bias, which stops its volatilization. We show that a thermally stable imidazolium-based energy dense ionic liquid can be made flammable or nonflammable simply by application or withdrawal of a direct-current bias. This cycle can be repeated as often as desired. The estimated energy penalty of the electrochemical activation process is only ∼4% of the total energy release. This approach presents a paradigm shift, offering the potential to make a “safe fuel” or alternatively a simple electrochemically driven fuel metering scheme.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jacs.3c04820.

    • Detailed experimental methods, supporting characterizations based on FTIR, TGA/DSC, XRD, IR thermometry, in situ mass spectrometry of different RTILs, hot wire ignition, and combustion enthalpy calculation. (PDF)

    • Video SV1: Ignition of flammable gas phase species after application of voltage to RTIL. (MP4)

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