Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Vol.98, No.3, 1244-1250, 2005
Development and characterization of homogeneous membranes prepared from sulfonated poly(phenylene oxide)
This article investigates the comprehensive properties of sulfonated poly(phenylene oxide) (SPPO) membranes with different sulfonation degrees and presents the completion of previous work necessary for the application of SPPO membranes to proton-exchange membrane fuel cells. The sulfonation level has been accurately determined by conductometric titration and H-1-NMR, and the glass-transition temperature has been obtained with both differential scanning calorimetry and dynamic mechanical thermal analysis. Sulfonic groups attached to the aromatic ring in the poly(phenylene oxide) backbone split at 220-340 degrees C, but the main-chain splitting temperature of SPPO is similar to that of the pure polymer. In addition, the effects of sulfonic groups and water on the tensile strength of these membranes have been studied. An increase in the sulfonate groups in the polymer results in an increase in the water uptake. Atomic force microscopy phase images of the acid-form membranes clearly show the hydrophilic domains, and the ionic regions of the membranes with a low sulfonation degree are isolated and become connected to produce a cocontinuous morphology as the degree of sulfonation increases. (c) 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.