A PBI compound that includes imidazole nitrogens, at least a portion of which are substituted with an organic-inorganic hybrid moiety. At least 85% of the imidazole nitrogens may be substituted. The organic-inorganic hybrid moiety may be an organosilane moiety, for example, (R)Me.sub.2SiCH.sub.2--, where R is selected from among methyl, phenyl, vinyl, and allyl. The PBI compound may exhibit similar thermal properties in comparison to the unsubstituted PBI. The PBI compound may exhibit a solubility in an organic solvent greater than the solubility of the unsubstituted PBI. The PBI compound may be included in separatory media. A substituted PBI synthesis method may include providing a parent PBI in a less than 5 wt % solvent solution. Substituting may occur at about room temperature and/or at about atmospheric pressure. Substituting may use at least five equivalents in relation to the imidazole nitrogens to be substituted or, preferably, about fifteen equivalents.
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC07-99ID13727 and Contract No. DE-AC07-05ID14517 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in this invention.