NMR investigation of water and methanol mobility in nanocomposite fuel cell membranes

Isabella Nicotera, Ameesh Khalfan, Gabriel Goenaga, Tao Zhang, Andrew Bruce Bocarsly, Steve Greenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Water and methanol transport behavior, morphology, and solvent adsorption of filler-free Nafion membrane, Nafion-SiO2, Nafion-TiO2, and two Nafion-Zr(HPO4)2 composites were investigated using nuclear magnetic resonance methods, including spin-lattice relaxation and pulsed-field-gradient spin-echo diffusion conducted under both variable temperature and variable hydrostatic pressure conditions and scanning electron microscopy analysis. A comparison between water and methanol self-diffusion coefficients reveals that the water mobility is higher than the methanol mobility in all the membranes. Additionally, the inclusion of inorganic fillers improves both the solvent uptakes and the transport properties of the composite membranes relative to filler-free Nafion, with the exception of one of the Nafion-Zr(HPO4)2 composite. Nafion-Zr(HPO 4)2 composites were prepared by two different procedures, in situ and ex situ. Although phosphorus-31 magic-angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance spectra show the same structures of the particles in both kinds of membranes, the morphology, solvent absorption properties, and solvent mobilities are very different.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-253
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • Composite electrolytes
  • Diffusion
  • Electron microscopies
  • NMR
  • PEMFCs


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