Sulfonated poly(ether sulfone)-based silica nanocomposite membranes for high temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cell applications

N. Nambi Krishnan, Dirk Henkensmeier, Jong Hyun Jang, Hyoung Juhn Kim, Vivian Rebbin, In Hwan Oh, Seong Ahn Hong, SukWoo Nam, Tae Hoon Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fuel Cell operation at high temperature (e.g. 120 °C) and low relative humidity (e.g. 50%) remains challenging due to creep (in the case of Nafion ®) and membrane dehydration. We approached this problem by filling PES 70, a sulfonated poly(ether sulfone) with a T g of 235 ± 5 °C and a theoretical IEC of 1.68 mmol g -1, with 5-20% silica nano particles of 7 nm diameter and 390 ± 40 m 2 g -1 surface area. While simple stirring of particles and polymer solutions led to hazy, strongly anisotropic (air/glass side) and sometimes irregular shaped membranes, good membranes were obtained by ball milling. SEM analysis showed reduced anisotropy and TEM analysis proved that the nanoparticles are well embedded in the polymer matrix. The separation length between the ion-rich domains was determined by SAXS to be 2.8, 2.9 and 3.0 nm for PES 70, PES 70-S05 and Nafion ® NRE 212, respectively. Tensile strength and Young's modulus increase with the amount of silica. Ex-situ in-plane proton conductivity showed a maximum for PES 70-S05 (2 mS cm -1). In the fuel cell (H 2/air, 120 °C, <50%), it showed a current density of 173 mA cm -2 at 0.7 V, which is 3.4 times higher than for PES 70.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7152-7161
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Volume36
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • High temperature PEMFC
  • SAXS
  • Silica nanocomposite membrane
  • Silica nanoparticle
  • Sulfonated poly(ether sulfone)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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  • Cite this

    Krishnan, N. N., Henkensmeier, D., Jang, J. H., Kim, H. J., Rebbin, V., Oh, I. H., Hong, S. A., Nam, S., & Lim, T. H. (2011). Sulfonated poly(ether sulfone)-based silica nanocomposite membranes for high temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cell applications. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 36(12), 7152-7161. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2011.03.015