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Ionic Liquids For Antistatic Agents


Many materials with high resistivity are easily charged by static electricity. The accumulated electrostatic charges may generate discharges and even create the danger of explosions. Therefore, it is very important to prevent electrostatic discharge of these materials. The addition of antistatic agents is a popular way to improve the antistatic properties of materials under current circumstance. The intrinsic high ionic conductivity, thermal stability and optical transparency of ionic liquids make them a good antistatic agent. Unlike non-ionic surfactant antistatic agents, ionic liquids-type antistatic agents still have excellent antistatic properties at low temperatures and low humidity. In addition, the use of ionic liquids-type antistatic agents does not reduce the optical transparency of transparent films compared to ordinary antistatic agents.

Ionic Liquids For Antistatic Agents


Ionic liquids have great potential in antistatic agents research due to their good conductivity and chemical stability. Ionic liquids-type antistatic agents include imidazolium based ionic liquids, ammonium based ionic liquids, phosphonium based ionic liquids, etc. A few examples of their specific applications are shown below.

  • Imidazolium based ionic liquids for antistatic agents

Ding and co-workers [1] incorporated 1-n-tetradecyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide ([C14mim]Br) into polypropylene (PP) matrix via melt blending. The measurement of surface resistance and volume resistance of neat PP and PP/[C14mim]Br blends indicated that [C14mim]Br had excellent antistatic ability. The PP/[C14mim]Br blend had the best antistatic property, when the weight ratio of [C14mim]Br to PP reached 3/100. In addition to PP, imidazolium based ionic liquids can also be used as antistatic agents for polyurethane (PU). For example, Iwata and co-workers [2] prepared imidazolium based ionic liquid-doped PU films. Surface resistivity of PU films decreased from 2.1×1012 to 9.4×1010 ohm sq-1 by addition of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide ([C4mim][Tf2N]) for only 10 ppm. Addition of ([C4mim][Tf2N]) for 1000 ppm leads to the reduction of not only surface resistivity from 1012 to 109 ohm sq-1 but also volume resistivity from 109 to 107 ohm cm. These results indicate that imidazolium based ionic liquids can be used as excellent antistatic agents.

Schematic illustration of ionic liquid-doped PU films [2].Figure 1. Schematic illustration of ionic liquid-doped PU films [2].

  • Ammonium based ionic liquids for antistatic agents

Xing and co-workers [3] incorporated an ionic liquid, tributyl(methyl)ammonium bis(trifluoromethane)sulfonylimide ([tbmam+][Tf2N]), into polycarbonate (PC), to prepare optically transparent antielectrostatic composites by melt processing. They measured the electrical conductivity of neat PC and the PC/ionic liquid composites with different ionic liquid loadings. The results showed that neat PC has an extremely high surface resistivity of 3.65×1013 Ω·sq−1. However, the surface resistivity of the PC/ionic liquid composites significantly decreases with increasing ammonium based ionic liquid loading, before leveling off at high loading, which indicates the introduction of ammonium based ionic liquids can greatly improve the antielectrostatic performance of PC. They also investigated the antielectrostatic properties of dried PC/ionic liquid composites. The results showed that the electrical conductivity decreases slightly under the superdried state. However, the measured value is still located in the region of the antielectrostatic range, indicating that the antistatic properties of ammonium based ionic liquids are basically unchanged under dry conditions.

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  • Ding, Y.; et al. Antistatic ability of 1-n-tetradecyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide and its effects on the structure and properties of polypropylene. European polymer journal. 2008, 44(4): 1247-1251.
  • Iwata, T.; et al. Bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide‐type ionic liquids as excellent antistatic agents for polyurethanes. Macromolecular Materials and Engineering. 2014, 299(7): 794-798.
  • Xing, C.; et al. Toward an optically transparent, antielectrostatic, and robust polymer composite: morphology and properties of polycarbonate/ionic liquid composites. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 2014, 53(11): 4304-4311.

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