Poly(cyclohexadiene)-Based Polymer Electrolyte Membranes for Fuel Cell Applications

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The goal of this research project was to create and develop fuel cell membranes having high proton conductivity at high temperatures and high chemical and mechanical durability. Poly(1,3-cyclohexadiene) (PCHD) is of interest as an alternative polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) material due to its ring-like structure which is expected to impart superior mechanical and thermal properties, and due to the fact that PCHD can readily be incorporated into a range of homopolymer and copolymer structures. PCHD can be aromatized, sulfonated, or fluorinated, allowing for tuning of key performance structure and properties. These factors include good proton transport, hydrophilicity, permeability (including fuel ... continued below

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Mays, Jimmy W. March 7, 2011.

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The goal of this research project was to create and develop fuel cell membranes having high proton conductivity at high temperatures and high chemical and mechanical durability. Poly(1,3-cyclohexadiene) (PCHD) is of interest as an alternative polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) material due to its ring-like structure which is expected to impart superior mechanical and thermal properties, and due to the fact that PCHD can readily be incorporated into a range of homopolymer and copolymer structures. PCHD can be aromatized, sulfonated, or fluorinated, allowing for tuning of key performance structure and properties. These factors include good proton transport, hydrophilicity, permeability (including fuel gas impermeability), good mechanical properties, morphology, thermal stability, crystallinity, and cost. The basic building block, 1,3-cyclohexadiene, is a hydrocarbon monomer that could be inexpensively produced on a commercial scale (pricing typical of other hydrocarbon monomers). Optimal material properties will result in novel low cost PEM membranes engineered for high conductivity at elevated temperatures and low relative humidities, as well as good performance and durability. The primary objectives of this project were: (1) To design, synthesize and characterize new non-Nafion PEM materials that conduct protons at low (25-50%) RH and at temperatures ranging from room temperature to 120 C; and (2) To achieve these objectives, a range of homopolymer and copolymer materials incorporating poly(cyclohexadiene) (PCHD) will be synthesized, derivatized, and characterized. These two objectives have been achieved. Sulfonated and crosslinked PCHD homopolymer membranes exhibit proton conductivities similar to Nafion in the mid-RH range, are superior to Nafion at higher RH, but are poorer than Nafion at RH < 50%. Thus to further improve proton conductivity, particularly at low RH, poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) was incorporated into the membrane by blending and by copolymerization. Conductivity measurements at 120 C over RH ranging from 20 to 100% using the BekkTech protocol showed much improved proton conductivities. Conductivities for the best of these new membranes exceed the DOE Year 3 milestone of 100 mS/cm at 50% RH at 120 C. Further optimization of these very promising low cost membranes could be pursued in the future.

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  • Report No.: DOE06GO16037
  • Grant Number: FG36-06GO16037
  • DOI: 10.2172/1008339 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1008339
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc833471

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  • March 7, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Jan. 9, 2018, 9:23 a.m.

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Mays, Jimmy W. Poly(cyclohexadiene)-Based Polymer Electrolyte Membranes for Fuel Cell Applications, report, March 7, 2011; Knoxville, Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc833471/: accessed December 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.