Synthesis of highly sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) random (statistical) copolymers via direct polymerization

Feng Wang, Michael Hickner, Qing Ji, William Harrison, Jeffrey Mecham, Thomas A. Zawodzinski, James E. McGrath

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273 Scopus citations


Novel biphenol-based wholly aromatic poly (arylene ether sulfones) containing pendant sulfonate groups were prepared by direct aromatic nucleophilic substitution polycondensation of disodium 3,3′-disulfonate-4, 4′-dichlorodiphenyl sulfone (SDCDPS), 4,4′-dichlorodiphenylsulfone (DCDPS) and biphenol. Copolymerization proceeded quantitatively to high molecular weight in N-methyl2-pyrrolidinone at 190°C in the presence of anhydrous potassium carbonate. Tough membranes were successfully cast from the control and the copolymers, which had a SDCDPS/DCDPS mole ratio of either 40:60 or 60:40 using N,N-dimethylactamide; the 100% SDCDPS homopolymer was water soluble. Short-term aging (30 min) indicates that the desired acid form membranes are stable to 220°C in air and conductivity values at 25°C of 0.110 (40%) and 0.170 S/cm (60%) were measured, which are comparable to or higher than the state-of-the art fluorinated copolymer Nafion 1135 control. The new copolymers, which contain ion conductivity sites on deactivated rings, are candidates as new polymeric electrolyte materials for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Further research comparing their membrane behavior to post-sulfonated systems is in progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-396
Number of pages10
JournalMacromolecular Symposia
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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