Publication:
Characterization and Modeling of Free Volume and Ionic Conduction in Multiblock Copolymer Proton Exchange Membranes

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Abstract
Free volume plays a key role on transport in proton exchange membranes (PEMs), including ionic conduction, species permeation, and diffusion. Positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy are used to characterize the pore size distribution and ionic conductivity of synthesized PEMs from polysulfone/polyphenylsulfone multiblock copolymers with different degrees of sulfonation (SPES). The experimental data are combined with a bundle-of-tubes model at the cluster-network scale to examine water uptake and proton conduction. The results show that the free pore size changes little with temperature in agreement with the good thermo-mechanical properties of SPES. However, the free volume is significantly lower than that of Nafion®, leading to lower ionic conductivity. This is explained by the reduction of the bulk space available for proton transfer where the activation free energy is lower, as well as an increase in the tortuosity of the ionic network.
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Pals, Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, Modeling, Ionic conductivity, Free volume, Spes, Proton exchange membrane
Bibliographic citation
Gomaa, M. M., Sánchez-Ramos, A., Ureña, N., Pérez-Prior, M. T., Levenfeld, B., García-Salaberri, P. A., & Elsharkawy, M. R. M. (2022). Characterization and Modeling of Free Volume and Ionic Conduction in Multiblock Copolymer Proton Exchange Membranes. In Polymers, 14(9), 1688-1708