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Synthesis of Hydrophilic–Hydrophobic Block Copolymer Ionomers Based on Polyphenylenes

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journal contribution
posted on 21.08.2012, 00:00 authored by Kensuke Umezawa, Tatsuya Oshima, Masahiro Yoshizawa-Fujita, Yuko Takeoka, Masahiro Rikukawa
Hydrophilic–hydrophobic block copolymer ionomers based on polyphenylenes with controlled the block lengths were synthesized for the first time by a catalyst-transfer polycondensation of a dibromo phenylene derivative having a neopentyl ester protected sulfonic acid group, followed by the polycondensation of hydrophobic dibromo hexyloxybenzene. The diblock copolymer ionomers were obtained by the removal of neopentyl groups, resulting in clear phase separation dependent on the block lengths. The well-developed microphase separation provided controlled water uptake and sufficiently high proton conductivity, especially at low relative humidity conditions. The fine block copolymerization by using catalyst transfer polycondensation is a promising strategy for the development of hydrocarbon ionomers having well-defined ordered structures with reasonable proton conductivity for fuel cell applications.