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Quaternized Polynorbornene Random Copolymers for Fuel Cell Devices...

Publication Type
Journal Name
ACS Applied Energy Materials
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1822 to 1833

Quaternized polymers are critical components for various energy devices. Vinyl-addition polynorbornenes provide high mechanical strength, high ion conductivity, and chemical stability in a wide range of pH environments due to the all-C–C bond backbone. Herein, we present the synthesis of a series of quaternized polynorbornene random copolymers via vinyl addition polymerization and elucidate the impact of polymer composition on their properties. The quaternary ammonium alkyl tether length and the ratio of n-hexylnorbornene to unsubstituted norbornene are systemically tailored. A copolymer of 5-(3-bromopropyl)-2-norbornene and norbornene with pendant trimethylammonium groups achieved hydroxide conductivity of 109 mS/cm at 80 °C with a modest water uptake of 72%. The addition of n-hexylnorbornene to the copolymer, to make a terpolymer, allows for the polymer composition to be tailored for properties, including a decrease in water uptake and higher processability, despite a slightly decreased hydroxide conductivity. Moreover, the developed membranes are chemically robust and highly mechanically stable, enabling thin membranes to be easily fabricated. This study provides insight into important design parameters for quaternized polynorbornenes for a variety of energy storage and conversion devices, especially fuel cells.