Effects of shear flow on the structure and dynamics of ionic liquids in a metallic nanoconfinement

S Ntim and M Sulpizi, PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 23, 24357-24364 (2021).

DOI: 10.1039/d1cp01055g

It has been shown that a weak shear can induce crystallisation in a disordered, glassy state. In this study, we use molecular dynamics simulations in order to investigate the out-of-equilibrium properties of BMIMBF4 confined between metal slabs. In particular, we want to understand the extent to which the shear flow modifies the interfacial properties. In particular, the questions we address here are (i) is the shear able to promote the crystalline phase in BMIMBF4? (ii) Can, as a consequence of shear flow, a solid-like layer develop at the interface with a metallic surface? (iii) What are the tribological properties of nanoconfined BMIMBF4? We find that the system behaves quite differently from the ideal linear Couette flow. Indeed, the portion of fluid closer to the shearing slabs behaves as a disordered, solid-like layer, which, under the investigated conditions extends to a few nanometres. The linear velocity regime is only recovered in the central region of the ionic liquid slab. The formation of such a solid-like glassy rather than crystalline layer is in agreement with recent mechanical impedance measurements performed on nano-confined ionic liquids.

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