An instrument for measuring the creep response of a material maintained under a controlled environment of temperature and vapor pressure is described. The temperature range of the instrument is 20-250°C while the range of vapor pressure is 0-1 atm. Data are presented for tests conducted on this instrument with Nafion®, a perfluorinated ionomer developed by DuPont and used as a membrane in polymer exchange membrane fuel cells, over a range of temperature and water vapor pressure. The data are useful for predicting long-term, creep behavior of the material in the fuel cell environment as well as providing insight to molecular level interactions in the material as a function of temperature and hydration. Measurements including dynamic and equilibrium strain due to water uptake as well as elastic modulus are described. The main features of the instrument are presented along with experimental methodology and analysis of results. The adaptation of the instrument to other mechanical tests is briefly described.
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