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Predictive understanding of the surface tension and velocity of sound in ionic liquids using machine learning

by Mohan Mood, Micholas D Smith, Omar N Demerdash, Michelle K Kidder, Jeremy C Smith
Publication Type
Journal Name
The Journal of Chemical Physics
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 47

Knowledge of the physical properties of ionic liquids (ILs), such as the surface tension and speed of sound, is important for both industrial and research applications. Unfortunately, technical challenges and costs limit exhaustive experimental screening efforts of ILs for these critical properties. Previous work has demonstrated that the use of quantum-mechanics-based thermochemical property prediction tools, such as the conductor-like screening model for real solvents, when combined with machine learning (ML) approaches, may provide an alternative pathway to guide the rapid screening and design of ILs for desired physiochemical properties. However, the question of which machine-learning approaches are most appropriate remains. In the present study, we examine how different ML architectures, ranging from tree-based approaches to feed-forward artificial neural networks, perform in generating nonlinear multivariate quantitative structure–property relationship models for the prediction of the temperature- and pressure-dependent surface tension of and speed of sound in ILs over a wide range of surface tensions (16.9–76.2 mN/m) and speeds of sound (1009.7–1992 m/s). The ML models are further interrogated using the powerful interpretation method, shapley additive explanations. We find that several different ML models provide high accuracy, according to traditional statistical metrics. The decision tree-based approaches appear to be the most accurate and precise, with extreme gradient-boosting trees and gradient-boosting trees being the best performers. However, our results also indicate that the promise of using machine-learning to gain deep insights into the underlying physics driving structure–property relationships in ILs may still be somewhat premature.