A Lewis acid ionic liquid, 1-[4-(chlorosulfonyl)butyl]-3-methylimidazolium chlorosulfate ([CBMIm]SO3Cl), with Lewis acid sites in both the anion and cation was synthesized. This was demonstrated to be an efficient catalyst for dehydration of aldoximes to nitriles. An unexpected self-induced phase separation of the reaction mixture was observed when the reaction was carried out in acetonitrile. This could be attributed to the hydrolysis of [CBMIm]SO3Cl to regenerate 1-(4-sulfobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium hydrogensulfate ([SBMIm]HSO4), which was the Brønsted precursor of [CBMIm]SO3Cl.
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