Plasticisers have been widely used as additives in polymer applications, including pharmaceuticals, food processing, and electrochemical sensing, to improve the mechanical and physicochemical properties of the polymers. Recent developments using alternatives to the conventional phthalate ester plasticisers, such as water, ionic liquids (ILs) and deep eutectic solvents (DES), have opened new avenues for expanding plasticiser use into other potential areas such as ion exchange membranes. Owing to the unique properties of plasticisers that promote a higher amount of amorphous phase within the intermolecular structural of the polymer, combinations of plasticisers and polymers improve a polymeric film's ionic conductivity while maintaining film flexibility and thermal stability. Hence, this review paper intends to provide an insight on the applications of conventional and alternative plasticisers in various areas, as well as to address the working mechanism of plasticisers within polymer films. Most importantly, this paper highlights recent developments incorporating plasticisers in proton exchange membranes and the future potential of these materials. The outlook presented here demonstrates that some of the challenges faced during the fabrication of ion exchange membranes, which are alternatives to Nafion membranes, can be overcome.
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2017
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