From Current Science to School : the Facets of Green Chemistry on the Example of Ionic Liquids
Ionic liquids (ILs) are a widely investigated topic in various technical disciplines at the present time. A main focus of the research on ILs lies on applications in the field of a more sustainable, ‘greener’ chemistry that benefits from their unique property combination. This allows for the improvement of existing technologies and the use in novel, innovative processes. Especially the synergistic combination with other concepts of green chemistry is expected to lead to promising application of ILs. Regardless of their presence in current scientific research, they are covered rarely in the didactics of chemistry, although they represent an ideal subject to incorporate fundamental relationships or chemical concepts into teaching. They can also be included in various demonstration or hands-on experiments. Therefore, the topic of ILs is very promising for the transfer of knowledge from chemical research and industry into didactical experiments especially in the greater context of green chemistry. In this contribution, we present some simple experiments that utilize a multifunctional IL as recyclable catalyst in a biphasic homogenous catalysis. The experiments demonstrate the ecological and economic benefits offered by ILs in an intelligent process design compared to the conventional protocols for esterification. It is shown that exploiting the potential offered by the tunability of functional ILs as high-performance chemicals rather than ‘simple solvents’ offers many possibilities for a more sustainable chemical production.