Owing to their large surface area and good solvent processability, polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) have been widely investigated for gas storage and separation processes. In this article, we show how chemically modifying the polymers can fine-tune their properties for specific, targeted applications. We find that converting the archetypal microporous polymer PIM-1 into a polycarboxylate salt enhances its separation capabilities for H2/CO2 mixtures (relevant to hydrogen production), whereas appending multiple amine groups significantly improves gas separation properties for N2/CO2 mixtures (relevant to flue gas treatment). Adsorption-based separation processes have received less attention than size-sieving processes in porous polymeric materials, however they could provide a suitable alternative technology to energy-intensive separation processes such as cryogenic distillation. We also report the hydrogen storage properties of the modified polymers, which we find to depend on the chemical modification carried out. By coupling the simplicity of the proposed chemical modifications with the scalability and porous properties of PIMs, we provide a blueprint to create new multifunctional materials with adapted properties for targeted applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number025002
JournalMultifunctional Materials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) via SUPERGEN Grants Nos. EP/K021109/1 and EP/L018365/1, and the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemical Technologies, under EPSRC Grant No. EP/L016354/1. We gratefully acknowledge Sam Garnett (University of Bath) for preliminary investigations, and Professor Charl F J Faul (University of Bristol) for granting access to equipment necessary to perform water adsorption experiments.


  • Gas separation
  • Hydrogen storage
  • Microporous polymer
  • Polymer of intrinsic microporosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)


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