Dr. James H. Davis, Jr.,                  

                                                  Professor

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Professional Preparation:

University of North Alabama, Industrial Chemistry, A.B., 1982

Vanderbilt University, Inorganic Chemistry, Ph.D., 1986

University of Virginia, Inorganic Chemistry, Postdoc, 1986-1989

Contact Information:

Office location: CHEM 141

Phone: (251) 460-6181

Email: jdavis@southalabama.edu

Courses: 

CH 131 General Chemistry I, CH 132 General Chemistry II, CH 403/CHE 403/CHE 503

Bioinorganic Chemistry, CH 394/494 Directed Studies

 

Research:

It is probably safe to say that five years ago most chemists had never heard of ionic liquids, a class of materials which is the principal focus of our work. But, in that short period of time interest in these unorthodox materials has grown at a phenomenal rate. The scope of

demonstrated or proposed applications of ILs is extraordinary, ranging from their use as non-volatile, non-flammable solvents to catalysts, materials for aiding separations, advanced heat transfer fluids, lubricants and anti-statics. Surpassing in magnitude the number of potential uses is the number of possible IL compositions, estimated by Seddon (Queen's University, Belfast ) to be in the billions.

In the absence of predictive computational methods to direct their design, the discovery-based development of new IL will remain vital to the field. It is this effort – the design, synthesis, and evaluation of new ionic liquids – that is the principal focus of our work (supported largely by Chevron).

 

Our efforts to create new ionic liquids fall into three overarching categories. The first is in the area of “task-specific” ionic liquids (TSILs), a  

subgroup of ionic liquids first described by us in 1999 and first referred to as TSILs in 2000. TSIL – type ionic liquids may be distinguished from more “conventional” ionic liquids in that the anion, cation or both of the salt contains within its structure a “functional group” which (by design) imbues the salt with a specific chemical attribute. One such family of ionic liquids that has been prepared by our group contains appended amine groups, which allow the ionic liquids to act as scavengers for CO2 , a process of considerable commercial importance. An ORTEP of one such amine cation (here as its BPh 4 - salt) is shown below [X-ray structure courtesy of Professor Robin Rogers, University of Alabama].

                                                          

The second general area of ionic liquids development by our group concerns the identification of recognizably non-toxic ions for evaluation in the formulation of ionic liquids. While the overwhelming focus of most IL research worldwide has to date centered on their eventual use as inductrial solvents, we believe that appropriately non-toxic ionic liquids are tremendously promising materials for use in consumer products. By in large, our energies in this effort have been focussed on the identification of anions which might be suitable for IL

formulation but which do not contain fluorine, a common component of most IL-anions. So far, we have established that the “docusate” anion (a common drug and cosmetic ingredient on the FDA GRAS list) is quite compatible with the formation of ionic liquids, as are the active (anionic) ingredients in saccharine and acesulfame based artificial sweeteners.

Most recently our attention has turned to examining the use of a long-neglected boron-centered cation type – the “boronium ion” –in creating new ionic liquids. Our first success in this regard was recently reported in Chemical Communications (2005) and the development of new boronium based materials is an area of growing interest on our part. Boronium ions are both isosteric and isoelectronic to classical ammonium ions, but differ substantially in the distribution of charge within their structures compared to their classical ammonium analogs. In the boronium ions, the positive charge is more extensively delocalized than in the conventional counterpart. This is readily seen in the computed electron distributions of an imidazolium-boronium ion and its conventional counterpart (1 and 1C respectively in the Figure below).

                                                            

Finally, it bears noting that our department – as well as the Davis group – is solely undergraduate in nature (no graduate students, no  postdoctoral fellows). The high tempo of research activity in our group and the department is a testimony to the talents and work ethic of our students!

Recent Publications & Collaborations: 

Davis, Jr. J. H. (2012) Exceedingly simple yet highly versatile new approach to the synthesis of ionic liquids. Presented at the meeting of the 243rd ACS National Meeting & Exposition, March 25-29, 2012, San Diego, CA.

Davis, Jr., J. H. (2012) Amine functionalized ionic liquids for CO2 capture: From the first proof of principle to a deployable technology. Presented at the meeting of the 243rd ACS National Meeting & Exposition, March 25-29, 2012, San Diego, CA.

Dorman, S. C., O'Brien, R.A., Lewis, A., Salter, E. A., Wierzbicki, A., Hixon, P. W., Sykora, R. E., Mirjafari, A., & Davis, Jr., J. H. (2011) "A new building block for electroactive organic materials? Synthesis, cyclic voltammetry, single crystal X-ray structure, and DFT treatment of a unique boron-based viologen." Chemical Communications, 47, 9072.

  

Mirjafari, A., Murray, S. M., O'Brien, R. A., West, K. N., & Davis, J. H. Jr. (2012) Cationic lipids (transfection) as design tutors: insights into structure-property relationships in lipidic ionic liquids. Poster presented at the 243rd ACS National Meeting Division of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry I&EC, March 25-29, 2012, San Diego, CA.

Mirjafari, A., Reynolds, R. A., Mobarrez, N., O'Brien, R. A., West, K. N. & Davis, Jr., J. H. (2012) Functionalized sucrose esters of fatty acids:

Synthesis of novel biobased compounds using SEFOSE® by oxymercuration-demercuration reactions. Poster presented at the 243rd ACS

National Meeting, Division of Cellulose and Renewable Materials (CELL) and Sci-Mix, March 25-29, 2012, San Diego, CA.

Mirjafari, A., O'Brien, R. A., Murray, S. M., Thigpen, A. S., West, K. N., & Davis, Jr., J. H. (2012) Thiol-ene click reactions as an efficient approach to synthesize structurally diverse pyridinium-based ionic liquids. Poster presented at the 243rd ACS National Meeting Division of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry I&EC, March 25-29, 2012, San Diego, CA.

Mirjafari, A., Reynolds, R. J., Murray, S. M., West, K. N., Davis, Jr., J. H. (2012) Functionalized sucrose esters of fatty acids: Synthesis of novel biobased compounds using SEFOSE® by oxy-mercuration-demercuration reactions. Poster presented at the meeting of the 243rd ACS National Meeting & Exposition, March 25-29, 2012. San Diego, CA.

O'Brien, R. A., Mirjafari, A., Mattson, K. M., Murray, S. M., West, K. N., & Davis, Jr., J. H. (2012) Sulfur as an unsaturation ‘effect isostere’ in lipidic materials: Tm lowering in lipid-inspired ionic liquids and fatty acids. Poster presented at the 243rd ACS National Meeting Division of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry I&EC, March 25-29, 2012, San Diego, CA.

Reichert, W. M., Williams, N. G., Goodie, T., La, M, Mirjafari, A., & Davis, Jr., J. H. (2012). Degradation of chitin utilizing acid functionalized ionic liquids technology. Poster presented at the meeting of the 243rd ACS National Meeting & Exposition, March 25-29, 2012, San Diego, CA.

O'Brien, R. A., Mirjafari, A., Jajam, V., Capley, E. N., Stenson, S. A., West, K. N., & Davis, Jr., J. H. (2011) "Functionalized ionic liquids with highly polar polyhydroxylated appendages and their rapid synthesis via thiol-ene click chemistry." Tetrahedron Lett., 52, 5173.

Mirjafari, A., Mobarrez, N., Davis, Jr., J. H., O'Brien, R. A., & Noei, J. (2011) "Microwave-promoted one-pot conversion of alcohols to oximes using 1-methylimidazolium nitrate,  [Hmim][NO3], as a green promoter and medium." C. R. Chimie, 14(12), 1065.

Wicker, B. F., Seaman, R., Hoffman, N. W., Davis, J. H., Jr., Sykora, R. E. (2011).  {2,6-Bis[(2,6-diphenylphosphanyl)oxy]-4-fluorophenyl-κ3P,C1,P’}(6-methyl-2,2,4-trioxo-3,4-dihydro-1,2,3- oxathiazin-3-ido-κN)palladium(II).  Acta Crystallographica Section E: Structure Reports, E67, m286-m287.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated: June 19, 2013 9:14 AM

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