Interfacial constraints on water and proton transport across nafion membranes

Jay Burton Benziger, May Jean Cheah, Vaclav Klika, Michal Pavelka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Water and proton transport across a Nafion membrane are measured as functions of water activity and applied electric potential with a polymer electrolyte hydrogen pump. Water and proton transport across the membrane must match water and proton transport entering and leaving the electrode/membrane/vapor three phase interfaces at the anode and cathode. At low applied electric potential proton and water fluxes are correlated. At moderate to high applied electric potential the proton current is constant, independent of applied electric potential, while the water transport increases with increasing electric potential. At high applied electric potential water and proton transport become uncoupled at the membrane interfaces; water is transported across the membrane/vapor interface and protons are transported across the membrane/electrode interface. The applied electric potential drives electro-osmosis to redistribute the water in the membrane. Water redistribution is limited by the interfacial transport of water across the membrane/vapor interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1580-1589
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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