Synthesis and characterization of rigid nanoporous hypercrosslinked copolymers for high surface area materials with potential hydrogen storage capabilities

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Virginia Tech


Hydrogen storage remains a major technological barrier to the widespread adoption of hydrogen as an energy source. Organic polymers offer one potential route to useful hydrogen storage materials. Recently, Frechet and his coworkers described a series of hypercrosslinked polymers with high surface area and studied their surface properties and hydrogen storage capacities. McKeown and his coworkers studied a class of materials termed Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs) which are also based on a "hypercrosslinked" concept. We enchained N-substituted maleimide and functionalized stilbene alternating copolymers into a "hypercrosslinked system" to achieve high rigidity, high surface areas, high aromatic content and good thermal stability.

Hypercrosslinked copolymers of N-(3-methylphenyl)maleimide (3MPMI), 4-methyl stilbene (4MSTBB), vinylbenzyl chloride (VBC) and divinyl benzene (DVB) were synthesized. Scanning electron micrographs (SEM) show the copolymers are porous and some examples have shown surface areas over 1200 m²/g. We have also found the incorporation of 3MPMI and 4MSTBB improves the thermal stability and raises the glass transition temperature of the copolymer. However, the incorporation of 3MPMI and 4MSTBB decreases the hypercrosslinking density and therefore causes a decrease in the copolymer surface area. The systematic study of styrene (STR) – vinylbenzyl chloride (VBC) – divinyl benzene (DVB) networks indicates that a low density of chloromethyl groups leads to a decrease in surface area. Therefore, we are continuing to investigate other monomers, such as N-substituted maleimide and functionalized stilbene containing chloromethyl groups, in order to enhance thermal stability while maintaining surface area.

In order to increase the enthalpy of hydrogen adsorption and thus raise the temperature of hydrogen storage, the monomer N,N-dimethyl-N',N'-diethyl-4,4'-diaminostilbene (4,4'DASTB-3MPMI) which contains electron donating groups was incorporated into hypercrosslinked polymer particles. Hypercrosslinked polymer (4,4'DASTB-3MPMI)1.0(VBC)98.5(DVB).50 exhibits a surface area of 3257 m²/g.



N-substituted maleimide, hypercrosslinked, nanoporous, hydrogen storage, Functionalized stilbene, high surface area