In order to systematically study how the arrangement of cations on the side chain and length of alkyl spacers between cations impact the performance of multi-cation AEMs for alkaline fuel cells, a series of polyphenylene oxide (PPO)-based AEMs with different cationic side chains were synthesized. This work resulted in samples with two or three cations in a side chain pendant to the PPO backbone. More importantly, the length of the spacer between cations varied from 3 methylene (-CH2-) (C3) groups to 8 methylene (C8) groups. The highest conductivity, up to 99 mS/cm in liquid water at room temperature, was observed for the triple-cation side chain AEM with pentyl (C5) or hexyl (C6) spacers. The multi-cation AEMs were found to have decreased water uptake and ionic conductivity when the spacer chains between cations were lengthened from pentyl (C5) or hexyl (C6) to octyl (C8) linking groups. The triple-cation membranes with pentyl (C5) or hexyl (C6) groups between cations showed greatest stability after immersion in 1 M NaOH at 80 °C for 500 h.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering