Enhanced ionic conductivity of anion exchange membranes by grafting flexible ionic strings on multiblock copolymers
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInternational journal of hydrogen energy. 2019, 45 (3), 1998-2008. 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2019.11.090
A new strategy to prepare high-conductivity anion exchange membranes (AEMs) is presented here. A series of phenolphthalein-based poly(arylene ether sulfone nitrile) multiblock AEMs has been synthesized by selectively grafting flexible ionic strings on hydrophilic segments to form ionic regions. Moreover, the phenolphthalein groups are introduced to force chains apart and create additional interchain spacing. In addition, the nitrile groups suspended on main chains are aimed at enhancing the anti-swelling behavior of as-prepared AEMs. Along these processes, well-defined phase separation has been attained, forming excellent ion-transport channels. The effective phase separation has been confirmed by atomic force microscopy. Finally, as-prepared AEMs exhibit a high hydroxide conductivity, ranging from 40.1 to 121.6 mS cm−1 in the temperature range of 30–80 °C, and superior ionic conductivity to IEC ratio at 80 °C. Furthermore, excellent thermal stability and desirable mechanical strength have been rendered by as-prepared AEMs. However, the alkaline stability of as-prepared AEMs requires further optimization.