Polyurethanes containing an imidazolium diol-based ionic-liquid chain extender for incorporation of ionic-liquid electrolytes

Renlong Gao, Mingqiang Zhang, Shih Wa Wang, Robert B. Moore, Ralph H. Colby, Timothy Edward Long*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Novel polyurethane (PU) cationomers are synthesized using an imidazolium diol-based ionic liquid (IL) chain extender. A systematic comparison with a non-ionic PU analogue reveals effect of the imidazolium cation on physical properties, hydrogen bonding, and morphology of segmented PU. Casting resulting PU solutions with various contents of IL generates novel membranes. Thermal study reveals that IL-containing PU membranes exhibit a constant soft segment Tg at -81 °C; however, the Tg of imidazolium hard segments systematically shifts to lower temperatures with increasing IL content. This suggests that IL preferentially locates into the imidazolium ionic hard domains, which is also evident in small-angle X-ray scattering. Moreover, dielectric relaxation spectroscopy demonstrates increased ionic conductivity of PU membranes by 5 orders of magnitude upon incorporation of 30 wt% IL. Imidazolium-containing polyurethane cationomers serve as nanoscale templates for the incorporation of ionic-liquid electrolytes. Controlled charge density and location of the ionic sites, exclusively in the hard segment, directs the electrolyte to specific domains for enhanced ionic conductivity while maintaining membrane ductility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1027-1036
Number of pages10
JournalMacromolecular Chemistry and Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013 May 14
Externally publishedYes


  • ionic conductivity
  • ionic liquids
  • morphology
  • polyurethane cationomers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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