Simulations of beta-glucose in the ionic liquid 1,3-dimethylimidazoliurn chloride have been performed in order to examine the solvation environment of the carbohydrate. Both single molecule and 1:5 glucose:ionic liquid (16.7 wt %) solutions are Studied, and the hydrogen bonding between sugar and solvent is examined. The primary solvation shell around the perimeter of the glucose ring consists predominantly of chloride anions which hydrogen bond to the hydroxyl groups. A small presence of the cation is also found, with the association Occurring through the weakly acidic hydrogen at the 2-position of the imidazolium ring interacting with the oxygen atoms of the sugar secondary hydroxyls. An average chloride coordination number of 4 is found around the glucose for both the single molecule and high concentration Simulations, despite the reduced chloride:glucose ratio in the latter case. In relation to the cation, the glucose molecules occupy positions above and below the plane of the imidazolium ring. Importantly, even at high glucose concentrations, no significant change in the anion-cation interactions and overall liquid structure of the ionic liquid is found, indicating that the glucose is readily accommodated by the solvent at this concentration. Dominant contributions to the sugar-ionic liquid interaction energy come from favorable hydrogen bonding (electrostatic) interactions between hydroxyls and chlorides, although a small favorable van der Waals energy contribution is also seen between the sugar and cations suggesting that the cation could be tailored in order to further improve the dissolution of glucose/cellulose in ionic liquid systems.
Youngs, T., Hardacre, C., & Holbrey, J. (2007). Glucose solvation by the ionic liquid 1,3-dimethylimidazolium chloride: A simulation study. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 111 (49)(49), 13765-13774. https://doi.org/10.1021/Jp076728k