Function and characterization of metal oxide-nafion composite membranes for elevated-temperature H 2/O 2 PEM fuel cells

Kevork T. Adjemian, Raymond Dominey, Lakshmi Krishnan, Hitoshi Ota, Paul Majsztrik, Tao Zhang, Jonathan Mann, Brent Kirby, Louis Gatto, Melanie Velo-Simpson, Jacklyn Leahy, Supramanian Srimvasan, Jay Burton Benziger, Andrew Bruce Bocarsly

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Metal-oxide-recast Nafion composite membranes were studied for operation in hydrogen/oxygen proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) from 80 to 130 °C and at relative humidities ranging from 75 to 100%. Membranes of nominal 125 μm thickness were prepared by suspending a variety of metal oxide particles (SiO 2, TiO 2, Al 2O 3, and ZrO 2) in solubilized Nafion. The composite membranes were characterized using electrochemical, X-ray scattering, spectroscopic, mechanical, and thermal analysis techniques. Membrane characteristics were compared to fuel cell performance. These studies indicated a specific chemical interaction between polymer sulfonate groups and the metal oxide surface for systems that provide a good elevated-temperature (i.e., fuel-cell operation above 120 °C) performance. Composite systems that incorporate either a TiO 2 or a SiO 2 phase produced superior elevated-temperature, low-humidity behavior compared to that of a simple Nafion-based fuel cell. Improved temperature tolerance permits the introduction of at least 500 ppm CO contaminant in the H 2 fuel stream without cell failure, in contrast to standard Nafion-based cells, which fail below 50 ppm of carbon monoxide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2238-2248
Number of pages11
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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