Sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) copolymer is synthesized via nucleophilic step polymerization of sulfonated 4,4'-dichlorodiphenyl sulfone, 4,4'-dichlorodiphenyl sulfone and phenolphthalin monomers in the presence of potassium carbonate. The copolymer is blended with various amounts of silica particles to form organic-inorganic composite membranes. Esterification reaction is carried out between silica particles and the sulfonated polymer chains by thermal treatment in the presence of sodium hypophosphite, which catalyzed the esterification reaction. The composition and incorporation of the sulfonated repeat unit are confirmed by 1H NMR. The water uptake, proton conductivity, and thermal decomposition temperature of the membranes are measured. The silica content in the polymer matrix and the effect of esterification are evaluated. All composite membranes show better water uptake and proton conductivity than the unmodified membrane. Moreover, the membranes are tested in a commercial single cell at 80 °C and 120 °C in humidified H2/air under different relative humidity conditions. The composite membrane containing 10% (w/w) silica shows the best performance among the prepared membranes especially under high temperature and low humidity conditions.
- Composite membrane
- High temperature
- Low humidity
- Proton exchange membrane fuel cell
- Sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment