Infoscience

Journal article

Investigation of the effects of AMPS-modified nanoclay on fuel cell performance of sulfonated aromatic proton exchange membranes

Here we describe preparation and characterization of a series of nanocomposite polyelectrolytes based on partially sulfonated poly (ether ether ketone) (SPEEK) and organically modified montmorillonite (MMT). Optimum degree of sulfonation for SPEEK is selected based on its transport properties. MMT is modified via ion exchange reaction using a 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropanesulfonic acid (AMPS) as a functional modifier. AMPS-MMT at different loadings is introduced into the SPEEK matrices via the solution intercalation technique. Also, the nanocomposite membranes are fabricated using SPEEK and commercially available nanoclays like Cloisite Na (Na-MMT) and Cloisite 15A. Transport properties, proton conductivity and methanol permeability of the fabricated composite membranes are evaluated. Presence of AMPS-MMT significantly decreases the activation energy needed for proton conductivity. A membrane based on SPEEK/AMPS-MMT-3 wt% is selected as an optimum formulation which exhibits a high selectivity and power density at the elevated methanol concentrations. Moreover, it is found that the optimum nanocomposite membrane not only provides higher power output compared to the neat SPEEK and Nafion 117 membranes, but also exhibits a higher open circuit voltage (OCV) in comparison with pristine SPEEK and commercial Nafion 117 membranes. Owing to the desirable transport and electrochemical properties SPEEK/AMPS-MMT nanocomposite can be considered as an alternative membrane for direct methanol fuel cell applications. Copyright (C) 2013, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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