A PBI compound includes imidazole nitrogens at least a portion of which are substituted with a moiety containing a carbonyl group, the substituted imidazole nitrogens being bonded to carbon of the carbonyl group. At least 85% of the nitrogens may be substituted. The carbonyl-containing moiety may include RCO--, where R is alkoxy or haloalkyl. The PBI compound may exhibit a first temperature marking an onset of weight loss corresponding to reversion of the substituted PBI that is less than a second temperature marking an onset of decomposition of an otherwise identical PBI compound without the substituted moiety. 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 use more than 5 equivalents in relation to the imidazole nitrogens to be substituted.
The United States Government has certain rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC07-991D13727, and Contract No. DE-AC07-051D14517 between the United States Department of Energy and Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC.