Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Organic Chemistry

Committee Chair

Tomoko Fujiwara

Committee Member

Thomas Zawodzinski

Committee Member

Peter Bridson

Committee Member

Paul Simone


This dissertation outlines a novel path towards improved understanding and function of proton exchange membranes (PEMs) for redox flow batteries, a large-scale battery storage device. This research uses synthetic methods and nanotechnology through two different approaches to prepare tailored polymer membranes:1) Ion exchange membranes with enhanced chemical structures to promote membrane morphology on the nano-scale were prepared. Specifically, functional polysulfones (PSUs) were synthesized from different pre-sulfonated monomers. These PSUs have controlled placement and content of unique sulfonic acid moieties. PEMs were fabricated and characterized. The new PEMs showed desirable physical properties and performance in a vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) cell.2) Nanoporous PSU membranes were fabricated via post-hydrolysis of polylactide (PLA) from PLA-PSU-PLA triblock copolymer membranes. The controlled morphology and pore size of the resulting nanoporous membranes were evaluated by different microscopy and scattering techniques to understand structure-property relationships. Further, the resulting nanopore surface was chemically modified with sulfonic acid moieties. Membranes were analyzed and evaluated as separators for a VRFB. The chemically modified nanoporous PEMs exhibited unique behavior with respect to their ion conductivity when exposed to solutions of increasing acid concentration. In addition, the hierarchical micro-nanoporous membranes developed further showed promising structure and properties.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.