High-performance multiblock PEMs containing a highly acidic fluorinated-hydrophilic domain for water electrolysis

Ji Eon Chae, So Young Lee, Sae Yane Baek, Kwang Ho Song, Chi Hoon Park, Hyoung Juhn Kim, Kwan Soo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The present paper describes the design and evaluation of novel hydrophilic–hydrophobic poly(arylene ether sulfone) (PAES) multiblock copolymers for their synergistic effects upon transport properties and their potential use in proton exchange membrane water electrolysis. The multiblock copolymers are prepared via a coupling reaction between (i) a hydrophilic segment consisting of a disulfonated quinone fluorinated biphenyl group that contains fluorine moieties next to the sulfonated groups to increase the acidity, and (ii) hydrophobic segments composed of non-sulfonated biphenyl sulfone to provide dimensional stability. Two different lengths (molecular weights; 5 k and 10 k, where k represents 103 g mol-1) of hydrophobic segments are used to investigate the effects of the membrane properties compared with those of Nafion® and PAES random copolymer (i.e., BPSH40). Atomic force microscopy images of the BPSH40 and multiblock membranes are shown to agree closely with a mesoscale simulation, thus confirming the importance of the morphological effect upon the transport properties. Moreover, the multiblock copolymer with a higher proportion of hydrophilic segments (10 k–5k) was shown to provide enhanced performance (3.41 A cm-2 at 1.9 V) compared to the multiblock copolymer with equal proportions of hydrophilic and hydrophobic segments (10 k–10 k) due to the greater continuity of nano-sized ionic channels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119694
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov 15

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Mesoscale simulation
  • Morphology
  • Multiblock copolymer
  • Phase separation
  • Proton exchange membrane water electrolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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