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Influence of adjusted hydrophilic-hydrophobic lengths in sulfonated multiblock copoly(ether sulfone) membranes for fuel cell application Part A Polymer chemistry
- Nakabayashi, Kazuhiro, Matsumoto, Kazuya, Higashihara, Tomoya, Ueda, Mitsuru
- Journal of polymer science 2008 v.46 no.22 pp. 7332-7341
- atomic force microscopy, composite polymers, fuel cells, hydrophilicity, hydrophobicity, molecular weight, oxidative stability, relative humidity, water uptake
- Sulfonated multiblock copoly(ether sulfone)s applicable to proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) were synthesized by the coupling reaction of the hydroxyl-terminated hydrophilic and hydrophobic oligomers with different lengths in the presence of highly reactive decafluorobiphenyl (DFB) as a chain extender to investigate the influence of each length on the membranes' properties, such as water uptake, proton conductivity, and morphology. Multiblock copolymers with high molecular weights (Mn > 50,000, Mw > 150,000) were obtained under mild reaction conditions. The resulting membranes demonstrated good oxidative stability for hot Fenton's reagent and maintained high water uptake (7.3-18.7 wt %) under a low relative humidity (50% RH). Proton conductivity of all membranes at 80 °C and 95% RH was higher than that of Nafion 117 membrane, and good proton conductivity of 7.0 x 10⁻³ S/cm was obtained at 80 °C and 50% RH by optimizing the oligomer lengths. The surface morphology of the membranes was investigated by tapping mode atomic force microscopy (AFM), which showed that the multiblock copolymer membranes had a clearer surface hydrophilic/hydrophobic-separated structure than that of the random copolymer, and contributed to good and effective proton conduction.