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Highly proton conducting proton‐exchange membranes based on fluorinated poly(arylene ether ketone)s with octasulfonated segments Part A Polymer chemistry

Xie, Yunji, Liu, Di, Li, Danqi, Han, Xiaocui, Li, Su, Chen, Zheng, Zhang, Haibo, Pang, Jinhui, Jiang, Zhenhua
Journal of polymer science 2018 v.56 no.1 pp. 25-37
condensation reactions, hydrophobicity, ion exchange capacity, mechanical properties, polymers, relative humidity, water uptake
A new bisphenol monomer containing a pair of electron‐rich tetra‐arylmethane units was designed and synthesized. Based on this monomer, along with commercial 4,4′‐(hexafluoroisopropylidene)diphenol A and 4,4′‐difluorobenzophenone, a series of novel poly(arylene ether ketone)s containing octasulfonated segments of varying molar percentage (x) (6F‐SPAEK‐x) were successfully synthesized by polycondensation reactions, followed by sulfonation. Tough, flexible, and transparent membranes, exhibiting excellent thermal stabilities and mechanical properties were obtained by casting. 6F‐SPAEK‐x samples exhibited appropriate water uptake and swelling ratios at moderate ion exchange capacities (IECs) and excellent proton conductivities. The highest proton conductivity (215 mS cm⁻¹) is observed for hydrated 6F‐SPAEK‐15 (IEC = 1.68 meq g⁻¹) at 100 °C, which is more than 1.5 times that of Nafion 117. Furthermore, the 6F‐SPAEK‐10 membrane exhibited comparable proton conductivity (102 mS cm⁻¹) to that of Nafion 117 at 80 °C, with a relatively low IEC value (1.26 meq g⁻¹). Even under 30% relative humidity, the 6F‐SPAEK‐20 membrane (2.06 meq g⁻¹) showed adequate conductivity (2.1 mS cm⁻¹) compared with Nafion 117 (3.4 mS cm⁻¹). The excellent comprehensive properties of these membranes are attributed to well‐defined nanophase‐separated structures promoted by strong polarity differences between highly ionized and fluorinated hydrophobic segments. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2018, 56, 25–37