High anion conductivity and low water uptake of phosphonium containing diblock copolymer membranes

Pepa Cotanda, Guillaume Sudre, Miguel A. Modestino, X. Chelsea Chen, Nitash P. Balsara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Poly[(styrene)-block-((2-acryloxy)ethyltributylphosphonium bromide)] diblock copolymers (STBP) were synthesized in two steps. First, reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerization was used to synthesize the diblock copolymer precursors poly[(styrene)-block-(bromoethyl acrylate)] (SBEA), followed by functionalization with tributylphosphine. Copolymers with overall molecular weights ranging from 31 to 87 kg/mol were synthesized. The volume fraction of the ion-containing monomers in the copolymers was fixed at about 0.57. Self-assembly of these copolymers into ordered morphologies with tunable domain sizes was demonstrated by small-angle X-ray scattering. The effect of morphology on water uptake and bromide ion conductivity was explored in samples equilibrated in liquid water. The use of the pendant tributylphosphonium cations, which have some hydrophobic character, results in low water uptake and high anionic conductivity. The conductivity increases with increasing domain size while water uptake is unaffected by domain size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7540-7547
Number of pages8
Issue number21
StatePublished - Oct 30 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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