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Tsung-Han Tsai, Ashley M. Maes, Melissa A. Vandiver, Craig Versek, Sönke Seifert, Mark Tuominen, Matthew W. Liberatore, Andrew M. Herring and E. Bryan Coughlin Synthesis and structure–conductivity relationship of polystyrene-block-poly(vinyl benzyl trimethylammonium) for alkaline anion exchange membrane fuel cells Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics 51

Article first published online: 21 SEP 2012 | DOI: 10.1002/polb.23170

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Fundamental investigations about the relationship between morphology and conductivity in alkaline anion exchange membranes made from well-defined block copolymers are sparse. The synthesis, morphology, and conductivity of polystyrene-b-poly(vinyl benzyl trimethylammonium tetrafluoroborate) (PS-b-[PVBTMA][OH]) are investigated. The block copolymers self-assemble into spherical, cylindrical, and lamellar microstructures. The nonlinearly increasing conductivity at high humidity with increasing ion exchange capacity results from the inherent nature of the microstructures. An inverse relationship between conductivity and temperature is attributed to the effect of swelling, or shrinkage, of the polycation segment and to the existence of grain boundaries.

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