Imidazolium and quaternary ammonium-functionalized poly(fluorenyl ether ketone sulfone)s were synthesized successfully with the same degree of cationic functionalization and identical polymer backbones for a comparative study of anion exchange membranes (AEMs) for solid-state alkaline membrane fuel cells (AMFCs). Both anion exchange membranes were synthesized using a new methyl-containing monomer that avoided the use of toxic chloromethylation reagents. The polymer chemical structures were confirmed by 1H NMR and FTIR. The derived AEMs were fully characterized by water uptake, anion conductivity, stability under aqueous basic conditions, and thermal stability. Interestingly, both the cationic groups and the polymer backbone were found to be degraded in 1 M NaOH solution at 60 °C over 48 h as measured by changes of ion exchange capacity and intrinsic viscosity. Imidazolium-functionalized poly(fluorenyl ether ketone sulfone)s had similar aqueous alkaline stability to quaternary ammonium-functionalized materials at 60 °C but much lower stability at 80 °C. This work demonstrates that quaternary ammonium and imidazolium cationic groups are not stable on poly(arylene ether sulfone) backbones under relatively mild conditions. Additionally, the poly(arylene ether sulfone) backbone, which is one of the most common polymers used in ion exchange membrane applications, is not stable in the types of molecular configurations analyzed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)