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Contract number
Time span of the project
Invited researcher
since December 2023 Churakov Andrei Viktorovich
General information
Name of the project:

Self-organizing fluorinated polymers for the creation of recyclable membranes with optimized proton conductivity

Goals and objectives
Goals of project:

The development of a new class of cost-efficient proton-exchange membranes (PEM) that contain a fluorinated matrix and sulfoacids to ensure the required chemical stability and a elaboration of a mechanism of proton transfer during the simultaneous use of the processes of molecular self-assembly for controlling the topology and the orientation of channels in finite membranes.

Project objective:

The project is aimed at the development of recyclable fluorinated polymers that contain acid groups and are capable of self-organization into 3D structures in a way that ensures more efficient percolation compared to existing commercial ion membranes, such as Nafion TM. It is worth noting that, in contrast with Nafion, the newly developed materials will be suitable for recycling since instead of a crystalline frameworks made of tetrafluoroethylene they will be based on a vinylidene fluoride platform that can be easily depolymerized, for instance, in a basic medium. Apart from copolymers that are derivatives of polyvinylidene fluoride, in this project we will develop and test new brush polymers, including homopolymers and block-copolymers containing proton-exchange side groups and a main polymer chain with controlled stereoregularity. Such molecular architectures will allow for the creation of a new class    cost-efficient proton-exchange membranes based on fluorinated matrices and sulfoacids preserving the necessary chemical stability and a mechanism for proton transport, integrating self-organizing fragments into the structure of the polymer. The implementation of the project will rely on joint efforts of a French and a Russian research group that will be responsible for tasks related to the synthesis of new fluorinated polymers/oligomers, the in-depth morphological study of the developed polymer materials and the physico-mathematical research of finite ion membranes as well as problems of testing of fuel cells based membranes created by the laboratory.

Research directions: Materials technologies 

The practical value of the study
Planned project results:

The developed PEMs will possess optimized transport properties thanks to the control of the stereoregularity of the polymer chain and can be included into the structure of both crystallized and liquid-crystal fragments for efficient assembly into specified supramolecular structures. The efficiency of various supramolecular structures for the processes of proton transport will be evaluated both on the basis of computer modeling and according to experimental structure-properties correlations. It is worth noting that, contrary to Nafion, which is now the reference material in terms of proton transfer, the created polymers will be suitable for recycling             by virtue of the use of a vinylidene fluoride platform that can be easily depolymerized in a basic medium. This will allow to create highly efficient membranes made of Russian materials that will be environmentally friendly. Among the partner organizations of the Laboratory will be the Sirius University of Science and Technology. Using unique equipment of the Sirius University (an АСМ JPK NanoWizard ULTRA Speed 2 and a Xenocs XeuSS 3 diffractometer) we will produce and research thin films and membranes made of synthesized statistical copolymers, measure their conductivity as well as design and manufacture a fuel cell for synchrotron research. The testing of the fuel cells based on new materials will be conducted in close cooperation with InEnergy, the largest manufacturer of fuel cells in Russia.

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