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Anion Conductive Triblock Copolymer Membranes with Flexible Multication Side Chain

Lin, Chen Xiao, Wu, Hong Yue, Li, Ling, Wang, Xiu Qin, Zhang, Qiu Gen, Zhu, Ai Mei, Liu, Qing Lin
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2018 v.10 no.21 pp. 18327-18337
composite polymers, fuel cells, hydrophilicity, hydrophobicity, potassium hydroxide, quaternary ammonium compounds, transmission electron microscopy
To achieve highly conductive and stable anion exchange membranes (AEMs) for fuel cells, novel triblock copolymer AEMs bearing flexible side chain were synthesized. The triblock structure and flexible side chain are responsible for the developed hydrophilic/hydrophobic phase separated morphology and well-connected ion conducting channels, as confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. As a result, the triblock copolymer AEMs with flexible side chain (ABA–TQA-x) demonstrated considerably higher conductivities, up to 130.5 mS cm–¹ at 80 °C, than the AEMs with monocation side chain (ABA–MQA). Furthermore, the long alkyl spacer between the backbone and quaternary ammonium groups, as well as long intercation spacer limits the water swelling of the membranes to some degree, resulting in good alkaline stability. The ABA–TQA-44 membrane retained 84.7% and 83.1% of its original conductivity and ionic exchange capacity, respectively, after immersed in a 1 M aqueous KOH solution at 80 °C for 480 h. Furthermore, the peak power density of a H₂/O₂ single cell using ABA–TQA-44 is 204.6 mW cm–² at a current density of 500 mA cm–² at 80 °C.