Micropatterned anion exchange membranes (AEMs) have been 3D printed via a photoinitiated free radical polymerization and quaternization process. The photocurable formulation, consisting of diurethane dimethacrylate (DUDA), poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA), dipentaerythritol penta-/hexa- acrylate, and 4-vinylbenzyl chloride (VBC), was directly cured into patterned films using a custom 3D photolithographic printing process similar to stereolithography. Measurements of water uptake, permselectivity, and ionic resistance were conducted on the quaternized poly(DUDA-co-PEGDA-co-VBC) sample series to determine their suitability as ion exchange membranes. The water uptake of the polymers increased as the ion exchange capacity (IEC) increased due to greater quaternized VBC content. Samples with IEC values between 0.98 to 1.63 mequiv/g were synthesized by varying the VBC content from 15 to 25 wt %. The water uptake was sensitive to the PEGDA content in the network resulting in water uptake values ranging from 85 to 410 wt % by varying the PEGDA fractions from 0 to 60 wt %. The permselectivity of the AEM samples decreased from 0.91 (168 wt %, 1.63 mequiv/g) to 0.85 (410 wt %, 1.63 mequiv/g) with increasing water uptake and to 0.88 (162 wt %, 0.98 mequiv/g) with decreasing IEC. Permselectivity results were relatively consistent with the general understanding of the correlation between permselectivity, water uptake, and ion content of the membrane. Lastly, it was revealed that the ionic resistance of patterned membranes was lower than that of flat membranes with the same material volume or equivalent thickness. A parallel resistance model was used to explain the influence of patterning on the overall measured ionic resistance. This model may provide a way to maximize ion exchange membrane performance by optimizing surface patterns without chemical modification to the membrane.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)