Imidazole-containing triblock copolymers with a synergy of ether and imidazolium sites

Chainika Jangu, Jing Han Helen Wang, Dong Wang, Gregory Fahs, James R. Heflin, Robert B. Moore, Ralph H. Colby, Timothy Edward Long*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization enabled the synthesis of well-defined A-BC-A triblock copolymers containing a synergy of pendant ether and imidazolium sites. The soft central BC block comprises low Tg di(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (DEGMEMA) and 1-(4-vinylbenzyl) methyl imidazolium units. External polystyrene blocks provide mechanical reinforcement within a nanoscale morphology. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) of the A-BC-A triblock copolymers exhibited a plateau region, which suggested the formation of a microphase-separated morphology. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) collectively probed the morphology of the A-BC-A triblock copolymers, revealing long-range order at the nanoscale dimensions. Dielectric relaxation spectroscopy (DRS) examined the ion-transport properties of ionomeric A-BC-A triblock copolymers and random copolymers with different compositions. The role of morphology was demonstrated with block copolymer nanoscale structures providing superior ionic conductivity and mechanical performance compared to random copolymers. Under a 4 V direct current (DC) applied voltage, electromechanical transducers derived from these triblock copolymer membranes with added ionic liquid showed superior actuation performance compared to a benchmark Nafion® membrane, suggesting potential for ionic polymer device applications. This was attributed to optimum modulus, improved ionic conductivity, and microphase-separated morphology of triblock copolymers. This journal is

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3891-3901
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry C
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Apr 28
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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