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Phosphonated graphene oxide (pGO) has been incorporated to sulfonated poly(styrene-isobutylene-styrene) (SO3H SIBS) to prepare polymer nanocomposite membranes (PNMs) for direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) and chemical and biological protective clothing (CBPC) applications. The performance of the membranes was evaluated per SIBS sulfonation level (i.e. 38, 61, and 90 mole %), filler type (i.e. GO and pGO) and filler loading (i.e. 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 wt.%). The transport properties (i.e. proton conductivity and methanol and vapor permeability) were determined to assess the performance of the PNMs per each application. The ionic interactions between the phosphonic and sulfonic groups (i.e. PO3H2 and SO3H, respectively) altered the pathways of SO3H SIBS, influencing the transport of permeants through the membranes. SIBS 61 pGO 0.1 presented the highest separation efficiency and a DMFC performance comparable to the state-of-the-art Nafion®, indicating that this membrane could potentially be implemented as protective fabric as well as functioning for fuel cell applications.
Graphene oxide (GO) and its phosphonated analogue (pGO) have been incorporated into sulfonated poly(styrene-isobutylene-styrene) (SO3H SIBS) to generate membranes with enhanced water retention. The polymer nanocomposite membranes (PNMs) were prepared per SIBS sulfonation level (i.e., 38, 61, and 90 mole %), filler type (i.e., GO and pGO) and filler loading (i.e., 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 wt.%). FT-IR and TGA confirmed the functionalization and incorporation of the fillers into SO3H SIBS. No significant changes were observed in the thermal stability or FTIR spectra of the PNMs after addition of the fillers. Dissimilar behaviors were observed for the water absorption capabilities (i.e., swelling ratio and water uptake) after incorporation of the fillers. The nanofillers enhanced the water absorption of the sulfonated polymer, possibly due to interconnections between the ionic groups. Therefore, the PNMs could not only potentially function as proton exchange membranes (PEMs) for several applications such as direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs).