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Keywords:

  • batteries and fuel cells;
  • copolymers;
  • membranes;
  • swelling

ABSTRACT

This article presented the synthetic and preparation route of quaternary ammonium functionalized anion exchange membranes (AEMs), which were derived from an engineering plastics polymer, poly(arylene ether sulfone) with 3,3′,5,5′-tetramethyl-4,4′-dihydroxybipheny moiety (PAES-TM). The benzylmethyl groups on the main-chain of PAES-TM were converted to the bromomethyl groups via a radical reaction, thereby avoiding complicated chloromethylation, which required carcinogenic reagents. The chemical structure of the bromomethylated PAES was characterized by 1H NMR spectrum. Following a homogeneous quaternization with trimethylamine in the solution, a series of flexible and tough membranes were obtained by a solution casting and anion exchange process. The ion exchange capacity values were ranging from 1.03 to 1.37 meq g−1. The properties of the membranes, including water uptake, hydroxide conductivity, and methanol permeability were evaluated in detail. The AEM showed a high conductivity above 10−2 S cm−1 at room temperature and extremely low methanol permeability of 4.16–4.94 × 10−8 cm2 s−1. The high hydroxide conductivity of TMPAES-140-NOH could be attributed to the nano-scale phase-separated morphology in the membrane, which was confirmed by their transmission electron microscopy images. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40256.