The introduction of metal oxides into the membrane and the active electrocatalyst layer improved fuel cell performance at elevated temperatures. The structure and properties of these modified membranes were through a combination of water uptake and conductivity experiments as well as small-angle X-ray scattering analysis. In the modification of the electrode membrane interface, 6% by weight of silica provided the best results. Higher silica concentrations led to mass transport problems. The comparison between the Nafion and Nafion composite membrane showed higher uptake by the composite membrane around a relative humidity of 65%. Bragg spacing, which represented the distance between ionic clusters, increased with increasing water content.
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