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Research Papers

Synthesis and Characterization of Polyion Complex Membranes Made of Aminated Polyetherimide and Sulfonated Polyethersulfone for Fuel Cell Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
N. Harsha, S. Kalyani

Membrane Separations Laboratory,
Chemical Engineering Division,
CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology,
Hyderabad 500007, India

V. V. Basava Rao

University College of Technology,
Osmania University,
Hyderabad 500007, India

S. Sridhar

Membrane Separations Laboratory,
Chemical Engineering Division,
CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad 500007, India
e-mail: sridhar11in@yahoo.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received July 6, 2014; final manuscript received September 27, 2015; published online December 4, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Shripad T. Revankar.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 12(6), 061004 (Dec 04, 2015) (10 pages) Paper No: FC-14-1082; doi: 10.1115/1.4031959 History: Received July 06, 2014; Revised September 27, 2015

Acid–base blends of sulfonated polyethersulfone (SPES) with pristine and aminated polyetherimide (APEI) are synthesized. Three blends polyethersulfone (PES)/polyetherimide (PEI), SPES/PEI, and SPES/APEI are prepared and characterized to evaluate their structural, morphological, mechanical, and other properties. Ion exchange capacity (IEC) of SPES/APEI and SPES/PEI blend membranes was determined to be 3.0 and 2.7 meq g−1, which is a substantial improvement over the 1.0 meq g−1 exhibited by unmodified PES/PEI blend. The proton conductivity of 0.093 S cm−1 displayed by SPES/APEI blend is found to be comparable to that of commercial Nafion membrane (0.056 S cm−1) and far superior to conductivities of 0.091 and 0.082 S cm−1 shown by SPES/PEI and PES/PEI blends, respectively. Further, water sorption observed in case of SPES/APEI and SPES/PEI blends was in the range 17–18% over a soaking time period of 12 hrs, which is ideal for proton conduction accompanied by low-membrane swelling. The methanol permeabilities of SPES/APEI and SPES/PEI blends are found to be 2.5 × 10−7 and 3.47 × 10−7 cm2 s−1, respectively. Compared to unmodified PES/PEI blend which revealed a methanol sorption of 12.3%, the modified blends SPES/PEI (9.6%) and SPES/APEI (7.5%) exhibited much lower methanol uptake over a sorption time of 12 hrs, indicating their capacity for low fuel bypass. The results demonstrate the promising potential of polymer blends made by combining a sulfonated polymer with an aminated polymer, such as SPES/APEI for fuel cell (FC) applications.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic representation of MEA of FC

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Fig. 2

Laboratory membrane casting machine

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Fig. 3

Schematic of laboratory FC experimental setup

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Fig. 4

Methanol permeability cell

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Fig. 5

Schematic view of conductivity cell

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Scheme 1

Ionically crosslinked SPES/PEI blend membrane

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Scheme 2

Ionically crosslinked SPES/APEI blend membrane

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Fig. 6

FTIR spectra of (a) PES/PEI, (b) SPES/PEI, and (c) SPES/APEI membrane

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Fig. 7

X-ray diffractograms of (a) PES/PEI, (b) SPES/PEI, and (c) SPES/APEI blend membrane

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Fig. 8

TGA curves for (a) PES/PEI and (b) SPES/PEI blend membrane

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Fig. 9

Surface morphology of (a) PES/PEI, (b) SPES/PEI, and (c) SPES/APEI blend membrane

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Fig. 10

Methanol permeability and methanol concentration with time at 30 °C for (a) PES/PEI, (b) SPES/PEI, and (c) SPES/APEI blend membrane

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Fig. 11

Impedance of real and imaginary axis of (a) PES/PEI and (b) SPES/PEI blend membrane

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Fig. 12

Frequency and impedance curve for (a) PES/PEI and (b) SPES/PEI blend membrane

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Fig. 13

(a) Cell voltage and (b) power density curves of blend membranes at 30 °C

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