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Publication year 2012 Publication Date 14 November
Index SCI
Title Morphological transformation of highly sulfonated poly(phenylene sulfide nitrile
) network copolymer
Author So Young Lee, Na Rae Kang, Dong Won Shin, Chang Hyun Lee, Kwan Soo Lee, Michael D. Guiver and Young Moo Lee*
Journal Energy & Environmental Science, 5(12), 9795-9802


We present a new approach of morphological transformation for effective proton transport within ionomers , even at partially hydrated states. Highly sulfonated poly(phenylene sulfide nitrile) (XESPSN) random network copolymers were synthesized as alternatives to state-of-the-art perfluorinated polymers such as Nafion®. A combination of thermal annealing and cross-linking, which was conducted at 250 °C by simple trimerisation of ethynyl groups at the chain termini, results in a morphological transformation. The resulting nanophase separation between the hydrophilic and hydrophobic domains forms well-connected hydrophilic nanochannels for dramatically enhanced proton conduction, even at partially hydrated conditions. For instance, the proton conductivity of XESPSN60 was 160% higher than that of Nafion® 212 at 80 °C and 50% relative humidity. The water uptake and dimensional swelling were also reduced and mechanical properties and oxidative stability were improved after three-dimensional network formation. The fuel cell performance of XESPSN membranes exhibited a significantly higher maximum power density than that of Nafion® 212 under partially hydrated environments.
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