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Advanced Materials for PEM-Based Fuel Cell Systems

Description: Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are quickly becoming attractive alternative energy sources for transportation, stationary power, and small electronics due to the increasing cost and environmental hazards of traditional fossil fuels. Two main classes of PEMFCs include hydrogen/air or hydrogen/oxygen fuel cells and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). The current benchmark membrane for both types of PEMFCs is Nafion, a perfluorinated sulfonated copolymer made by DuPont. Nafion copolymers exhibit good thermal and chemical stability, as well as very high proton conductivity under hydrated conditions at temperatures below 80 °C. However, application of these membranes is limited due to their high methanol permeability and loss of conductivity at high temperatures and low relative humidities. These deficiencies have led to the search for improved materials for proton exchange membranes. Potential PEMs should have good thermal, hydrolytic, and oxidative stability, high proton conductivity, selective permeability, and mechanical durability over long periods of time. Poly(arylene ether)s, polyimides, polybenzimidazoles, and polyphenylenes are among the most widely investigated candidates for PEMs. Poly(arylene ether)s are a promising class of proton exchange membranes due to their excellent thermal and chemical stability and high glass transition temperatures. High proton conductivity can be achieved through post-sulfonation of poly(arylene ether) materials, but this most often results in very high water sorption or even water solubility. Our research has shown that directly polymerized poly(arylene ether) copolymers show important advantages over traditional post-sulfonated systems and also address the concerns with Nafion membranes. These properties were evaluated and correlated with morphology, structure-property relationships, and states of water in the membranes. Further improvements in properties were achieved through incorporation of inorganic fillers, such as phosphotungstic acid and zirconium hydrogen phosphate. Block copolymers were also studied due to the possibility to achieve a desired combination of homopolymer properties as well as the unique morphologies that ...
Date: October 26, 2005
Creator: McGrath, James E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Advanced Materials for PEM-Based Fuel Cell Systems

Description: Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are quickly becoming attractive alternative energy sources for transportation, stationary power, and small electronics due to the increasing cost and environmental hazards of traditional fossil fuels. Two main classes of PEMFCs include hydrogen/air or hydrogen/oxygen fuel cells and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). The current benchmark membrane for both types of PEMFCs is Nafion, a perfluorinated sulfonated copolymer made by DuPont. Nafion copolymers exhibit good thermal and chemical stability, as well as very high proton conductivity under hydrated conditions at temperatures below 80 degrees C. However, application of these membranes is limited due to their high methanol permeability and loss of conductivity at high temperatures and low relative humidities. These deficiencies have led to the search for improved materials for proton exchange membranes. Potential PEMs should have good thermal, hydrolytic, and oxidative stability, high proton conductivity, selective permeability, and mechanical durability over long periods of time. Poly(arylene ether)s, polyimides, polybenzimidazoles, and polyphenylenes are among the most widely investigated candidates for PEMs. Poly(arylene ether)s are a promising class of proton exchange membranes due to their excellent thermal and chemical stability and high glass transition temperatures. High proton conductivity can be achieved through post-sulfonation of poly(arylene ether) materials, but this most often results in very high water sorption or even water solubility. Our research has shown that directly polymerized poly(arylene ether) copolymers show important advantages over traditional post-sulfonated systems and also address the concerns with Nafion membranes. These properties were evaluated and correlated with morphology, structure-property relationships, and states of water in the membranes. Further improvements in properties were achieved through incorporation of inorganic fillers, such as phosphotungstic acid and zirconium hydrogen phosphate. Block copolymers were also studied due to the possibility to achieve a desired combination of homopolymer properties as well as the unique morphologies ...
Date: October 26, 2005
Creator: McGrath, James E.; Baird, Donald G. & Spakovsky, Michael von
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Durable, Low-cost, Improved Fuel Cell Membranes

Description: The development of low cost, durable membranes and membranes electrode assemblies (MEAs) that operate under reduced relative humidity (RH) conditions remain a critical challenge for the successful introduction of fuel cells into mass markets. It was the goal of the team lead by Arkema, Inc. to address these shortages. Thus, this project addresses the following technical barriers from the fuel cells section of the Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies Program Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan: (A) Durability (B) Cost Arkema’s approach consisted of using blends of polyvinylidenefluoride (PVDF) and proprietary sulfonated polyelectrolytes. In the traditional approach to polyelectrolytes for proton exchange membranes (PEM), all the required properties are “packaged” in one macromolecule. The properties of interest include proton conductivity, mechanical properties, durability, and water/gas transport. This is the case, for example, for perfluorosulfonic acid-containing (PFSA) membranes. However, the cost of these materials is high, largely due to the complexity and the number of steps involved in their synthesis. In addition, they suffer other shortcomings such as mediocre mechanical properties and insufficient durability for some applications. The strength and originality of Arkema’s approach lies in the decoupling of ion conductivity from the other requirements. Kynar® PVDF provides an exceptional combination of properties that make it ideally suited for a membrane matrix (Kynar® is a registered trademark of Arkema Inc.). It exhibits outstanding chemical resistance in highly oxidative and acidic environments. In work with a prior grant, a membrane known as M41 was developed by Arkema. M41 had many of the properties needed for a high performance PEM, but had a significant deficiency in conductivity at low RH. In the first phase of this work, the processing parameters of M41 were explored as a means to increase its proton conductivity. Optimizing the processing of M41 was found to increase its ...
Date: March 17, 2011
Creator: Roger, Chris; Mountz, David; He, Wensheng & Zhang, Tao
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department