Mass transfer coefficients of CO2 are anomalously high in water-lean solvents as compared to aqueous amines. Such phenomena are intrinsic to the molecular and nanoscale structure of concentrated organic CO2 capture solvents. To decipher the connections, we performed in situ liquid time-of-flight secondary ionization mass spectroscopy on a representative water-lean solvent, 1-((1,3-Dimethylimidazolidin-2-ylidene)amino)propan-2-ol (IPADM-2-BOL). Two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) chemical mapping of the solvent revealed that IPADM-2-BOL exhibited a heterogeneous molecular structure with regions of CO2-free solvent coexisting with clusters of zwitterionic carbonate ions. Chemical mapping were consistent with molecular dynamic simulation results, indicating CO2 diffusing through pockets and channels of unreacted solvent. The observed mesoscopic structure promotes and enhances the diffusion and reactivity of CO2, likely prevalent in other water-lean solvents. This finding suggests that if the size, shape and orientation of the domains can be controlled, more efficient CO2 capture solvents could be developed to enhance mass-transfer and uptake kinetics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry