Ion transport properties of mechanically stable symmetric ABCBA pentablock copolymers with quaternary ammonium functionalized midblock
Published Web Locationhttps://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/polb.24310
Anion exchange membranes (AEMs) are a promising class of materials for applications that require selective ion transport, such as fuel cells, water purification, and electrolysis devices. Studies of structure–morphology–property relationships of ion-exchange membranes revealed that block copolymers exhibit improved ion conductivity and mechanical properties due to their microphase-separated morphologies with well-defined ionic domains. While most studies focused on symmetric diblock or triblock copolymers, here, the first example of a midblock quaternized pentablock AEM is presented. A symmetric ABCBA pentablock copolymer was functionalized to obtain a midblock brominated polymer. Solution cast films were then quaternized to obtain AEMs with resulting ion exchange capacities (IEC) ranging from 0.4 to 0.9 mmol/g. Despite the relatively low IEC, the polymers were highly conductive (up to 60 mS/cm Br− at 90 °C and 95%RH) with low water absorption (<25 wt %) and maintained adequate mechanical properties in both dry and hydrated conditions. X-ray scattering and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed formation of cylindrical non-ionic domains in a connected ionic phase. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2017, 55, 612–622.