Carboxylated Polystyrene-b-poly(ethylene-ran-butylene)-b-polystyrene Membranes for Alkaline Water Electrolysis

Dmytro Serhiichuk, Ding Tian, Mads Radmer Almind, Zongwei Ma, Yifan Xia, Mikkel Rykær Kraglund, Chulsung Bae, Jens Oluf Jensen, David Aili*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A series of membranes based on carboxylated polystyrene-b-poly(ethylene-ran-butylene)-b-polystyrene (SEBS) were synthesized via Friedel-Crafts bromoalkylation, substitution with malonate esters, and heterogeneous ester hydrolysis. The physicochemical properties of the obtained membranes, including electrolyte uptake, swelling ratio, and ionic conductivity, were highly affected by the degree of functionalization and the concentration of the aqueous KOH solution. Membranes with degrees of functionalization higher than 100% suffered from excessive swelling and poor mechanical stability. However, membranes with degrees of functionalization in the range of 50-75% combined high electrolyte uptake and ion conductivity with mechanical robustness. The area specific resistance during electrolysis testing in 15 wt % aqueous KOH at 80 °C was 0.18 Ω cm2 after 1 week, with no signs of degradation. The H2 in the O2 level at 50 mA cm-2 was about 0.5%, which was considerably lower than that of Zirfon despite being four times thinner.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1080-1091
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Membrane
  • Polymer electrolyte
  • Alkaline
  • Conductivity
  • Water electrolysis


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