sbs aem nmpCongratulations to our PhD student Andrea Roggi for his publication entitled "SBS-based AEM for water electrolysis via NMP" in Polymers. Nitroxide Mediated Polymerization (NMP) was employed for the synthesis of VBC/Sty-graft copolymers starting from a commercial thermoplastic elastomer, namely the Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene (SBS) tri-block copolymer. The synthesized copolymers were used for the preparation of Anion Exchange Membranes (AEMs) for water electrolysis after the conversion of the grafted moieties into ionic sites with Trimethylamine (TMA).

The controlled nature of the polymerization, as well as the use of a solvent during SBS functionalization allowed to reduce the molecular weight and the amount of the non-grafted copolymer, the main by-product of the reaction, thus facilitating the purification of the functionalized material. At a given functionalization degree, the incorporation of styrene in the side chains significantly increased the mechanical properties of the prepared membranes. This guaranteed the resistance of the membrane during the assembly of the electrolytic cell, even if the operating current density was too high for practical application. Although the membrane cell performance needs to be improved, these results indicate that VBC-functionalized SBS-based copolymers with an increased amount of the styrene component are good candidates to easily prepare cost-effective AEMs for green hydrogen production.

The work is available following the link

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Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale
Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry
Via G. Moruzzi, 13 - Pisa, Italy
Corso di Dottorato in Scienze Chimiche e dei Materiali
Doctoral School in Chemistry and Material Science
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