Highly conductive side chain block copolymer anion exchange membranes

Lizhu Wang, Michael A. Hickner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Block copolymers based on poly(styrene) having pendent trimethyl styrenylbutyl ammonium (with four carbon ring-ionic group alkyl linkers) or benzyltrimethyl ammonium groups with a methylene bridge between the ring and ionic group were synthesized by reversible addition-fragmentation radical (RAFT) polymerization as anion exchange membranes (AEMs). The C4 side chain polymer showed a 17% increase in Cl- conductivity of 33.7 mS cm-1 compared to the benzyltrimethyl ammonium sample (28.9 mS cm-1) under the same conditions (IEC = 3.20 meq. g-1, hydration number, λ = ∼7.0, cast from DMF/1-propanol (v/v = 3:1), relative humidity = 95%). As confirmed by small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), the side chain block copolymers with tethered ammonium cations showed well-defined lamellar morphologies and a significant reduction in interdomain spacing compared to benzyltrimethyl ammonium containing block copolymers. The chemical stabilities of the block copolymers were evaluated under severe, accelerated conditions, and degradation was observed by 1H NMR. The block copolymer with C4 side chain trimethyl styrenylbutyl ammonium motifs displayed slightly improved stability compared to that of a benzyltrimethyl ammonium-based AEM at 80 °C in 1 M NaOD aqueous solution for 30 days.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5359-5371
Number of pages13
JournalSoft matter
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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