Investigation of PEMFC operation above 100 °C employing perfluorosulfonic acid silicon oxide composite membranes

K. T. Adjemian, S. Srinivasan, Jay Burton Benziger, Andrew Bruce Bocarsly

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195 Scopus citations


Various perfluorosulfonic acid membranes (PFSAs) were studied as pure and silicon oxide composite membranes for operation in hydrogen/oxygen proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) from 80 to 140 °C. The composite membranes were prepared either by impregnation of pre-formed PFSAs via sol-gel processing of a polymeric silicon oxide, recasting a film using solubilized PFSAs and a silicon oxide polymer/gel. All composite membranes had a silicon oxide content of less than or equal to 10% by weight. Decreasing the equivalent weight and thickness of the PFSAs, in addition to the incorporation of silicon oxide helped improve water management in a PEMFC at elevated temperatures. Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy-attenuated total reflectance (FT-IR-ATR), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) experiments indicated an evenly distributed siloxane polymer in all of the composite membranes. At a potential of 0.4 V the Aciplex 1004/silicon oxide composite membrane in a humidified H2/O2 PEMFC at 130 °C and a pressure of 3 atm delivered six times higher current density than unmodified Nafion 115 under the same conditions, and 1.73 times the current density when unmodified Nafion 115 was operated with humidified gases at 80°C and 1atm of pressure. Furthermore, the PEMFC performances with the PFSA/silicon oxide composite membranes were physically more robust than the control membranes (unmodified PFSAs), which degraded after high operation temperature and thermal cycling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-364
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Perfluorosulfonic acid membranes
  • Proton-exchange membrane fuel cells
  • Sol-gel technique


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