Asymmetric sol-gel proton-conducting membrane
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Proton-conducting membranes with interpenetrating polymer network morphology have gained attention in recent years for potential replacement of standard Nafion membranes in direct methanol fuel cells. These membranes generally consist of fine interpenetrating domains of proton-conducting and mechanically-supporting polymer phases, which often leads to improvements in mechanical strength and methanol barrier properties. Asymmetric sol-gel membranes comprising proton-conducting channels of cross-linked sulfonic acid functionalized ionomers embedded within a matrix of thermally-resistant, glassy polymer were prepared by photopolymerization starting from a polymer solution and evaluated in our laboratories. These membranes have an integral top skin layer with fine biomimetic proton-conducting channels, which provides a barrier against methanol crossover, on top of a coarser proton-conducting support. Conductivity of asymmetric membranes over a range of initial polymer concentrations and... ion-exchange capacities (IEC) was just slightly lower than for the corresponding symmetric membranes. Methanol barrier properties of asymmetric sol-gel membranes were better than that of Nafion 115 membrane. The crosslinking agent functionality had a major effect on membrane conductivity. Use of trifunctional crosslinking agents resulted in significantly higher conductivities than those obtained with bifunctional agents, even surpassing the conductivity of Nafion membranes.
Keywords:Fuel cell / Proton exchange membrane / Polymer electrolyte
Source:Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Multi-Material Micro Manufacture, 11-08-2011
- Singapore : Research Publishing