Joy Mwalimu

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. John E. Chateauneuf

Second Advisor

Dr. Marc W. Perkovic

Third Advisor

Dr. James J. Kiddle

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Supercritical fluids (SCFs) have fascinated researchers ever since the discovery of a critical temperature more than a century ago.1 Initial studies focused mainly on the physical properties of supercritical phases.2 However, their use as reaction media has sparked mainly during the last five to ten years.2

The coupling of CO2 and Ionic Liquids (ILs) in the synthesis of cyclic carbonates comes from an increasing need for environmentally and toxicologically benign processes for the production of high-value compounds. In my research, CO2 was utilized as both a replacement solvent and a C1 feedstock in its fixation to styrene oxide to yield styrene carbonate. Alkali metal salts, quaternary ammomum salts and l -alkyl-3- methylimidazolium based ILs have been examined as possible catalysts for the reaction under various temperature and pressure conditions. Phase behavior studies by UV-vis have helped us understand the effect of CO2 pressure on the % conversion. NMR, IR and GC-MS have been used to monitor and identify reaction products.

Results strongly indicate a highly efficient, more environmentally friendly synthetic process.

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