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Anhydrous proton-conducting electrolyte based on a nematic poly(methyl acrylate) containing sulfonated side chains



A nematic poly(methyl acrylate) containing terminal sulfonic acids in side chains was prepared by etherification of a brominated mesomorphic precursor with 2-hydroxyethanesulfonic acid sodium salt. Differential scanning calorimetry measurements and polarized light microscopy observation revealed that the sulfonated polymer exhibited the nematic mesophase at medium temperatures (189–227°C). Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements showed that temperature dependence of anhydrous proton conductivity for the nematic polymer followed the Arrhenius law and that the estimated activation energy was 95 kJ mol−1 in the nematic phase. The proton conductivities of the nematic polymer were two orders of magnitude higher than those of anhydrous Nafion®117 membrane at the same temperature. The enhanced anhydrous proton conductivities of the polymeric electrolyte were ascribed to the orientational order and fluidity of the nematic liquid crystal. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40382.