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Title: Random and Block Sulfonated Polyaramides as Advanced Proton Exchange Membranes

Presented here is the experimental and computational characterization of two novel copolyaramide proton exchange membranes (PEMs) with higher conductivity than Nafion at relatively high temperatures, good mechanical properties, high thermal stability, and the capability to operate in low humidity conditions. The random and block copolyaramide PEMs are found to possess different ion exchange capacities (IEC) in addition to subtle structural and morphological differences, which impact the stability and conductivity of the membranes. SAXS patterns indicate the ionomer peak for the dry block copolymer resides at q = 0.1 Å–1, which increases in amplitude when initially hydrated to 25% relative humidity, but then decrease in amplitude with additional hydration. This pattern is hypothesized to signal the transport of water into the polymer matrix resulting in a reduced degree of phase separation. Coupled to these morphological changes, the enhanced proton transport characteristics and structural/mechanical stability for the block copolymer are hypothesized to be primarily due to the ordered structure of ionic clusters that create connected proton transport pathways while reducing swelling upon hydration. Interestingly, the random copolymer did not possess an ionomer peak at any of the hydration levels investigated, indicating a lack of any significant ionomer structure. The random copolymer alsomore » demonstrated higher proton conductivity than the block copolymer, which is opposite to the trend normally seen in polymer membranes. However, it has reduced structural/mechanical stability as compared to the block copolymer. This reduction in stability is due to the random morphology formed by entanglements of polymer chains and the adverse swelling characteristics upon hydration. Therefore, the block copolymer with its enhanced proton conductivity characteristics, as compared to Nafion, and favorable structural/mechanical stability, as compared to the random copolymer, represents a viable alternative to current proton exchange membranes.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Physical Chemistry. C; Journal Volume: 119; Journal Issue: 44
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE U.S. Department of Energy ; National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States