Synthesis, nanostructures and properties of sulfonated poly(phenylene oxide) bearing polyfluorostyrene side chains as proton conducting membranes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Graft copolymers with ionic backbones and hydrophobic fluorinated side chains have been prepared by using lithiated poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide) (PPO) as a macroinitiator for anionic polymerization of 4-fluorostyrene. After grafting of the poly(4-fluorostyrene) (PFS) side chains, the PPO backbone was selectively sulfonated using trimethylsilylchlorosulfonate under mild and controlled conditions. Microscopy of solvent cast membranes revealed copolymer self-assembly into remarkably regular and well-ordered morphologies which, depending on the molecular structure, included lamellar and cylindrical arrangements of the proton conducting ionic nanophases. Thermal analysis indicated separate glass transitions of the PFS and PPO phases, and high thermal degradation temperatures of the membranes at approximately 220 and 300 °C for the H+ and the Na+ forms, respectively. The proton conductivity of fully hydrated acidic membranes was similar to that of Nafion, reaching above 0.2 S cm−1 at 120 °C. Compared at the same ion exchange capacity, the proton conductivity of the graft copolymer membranes was two times higher than that of a membrane based on an ungrafted sulfonated PPO. The study showed that it is possible to tailor and prepare proton-exchange membranes with well-ordered morphologies and high proton conductivity by employing graft copolymers with a sulfonated backbone bearing hydrophobic side chains.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Chemical Sciences


  • sulfonated aromatic ionomers, polymer electrolyte membranes, graft copolymers, proton conductivity, morphology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2074-2083
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

publication date on the web: March 14, 2011 The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Polymer and Materials Chemistry (LTH) (011001041)