Research Papers

Synthesis and Characterization of Polyurethanic Proton Exchange Membranes

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Bottino, G. Capannelli

A. Comite1

C. Costa

 Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale, Università degli Studi di Genova, Via Dodecaneso 31, 16146 Genova, Italy


Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(5), 051011 (Jun 20, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003981 History: Received October 14, 2010; Revised April 02, 2011; Published June 20, 2011; Online June 20, 2011

Novel proton exchange membranes have been prepared by in synthesis functionalization of a polyurethane matrix with a sulfonic group containing chain terminals. The synthesis procedure was based on the use of two polyethylene glycols with nominal molecular weight of 300 and 1 k and 4,4′ dicyclohexylmethane diisocyanate in presence of the sodium salt of isethionic acid as a donor of the sulfonic group. Glycerol was added in order to improve by reticulation the stability of the cast films. The membranes were characterized in terms of swelling, morphology, methanol permeability, proton conductivity, and ion exchange capacity. The best H2 /air cell performance was achieved at 80 °C with a maximum power density of 16.9 mW/cm2 at a voltage of about 0.35 V. Polyurethane based ionomeric membranes have proved to be interesting candidates for proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) applications.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Cross section and surface micrographies of (a and d) a not-functionalized polyurethane film where N = 4.06; (b and e) a sulfonic groups containing polyurethane membrane where N = 5.41 and M = 0.45, and (c and f ) a polyurethane film with sulfonic groups polymerized in presence of glycerol

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Figure 2

EDS spectrum registered in the mean part of the film appearing in Fig. 1(c)

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Figure 3

Detail of a TEM micrography of a membrane stained with a solution of a platinum cation precursor. N = 5.41, M = 0.45, reticulation with glycerol performed.

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Figure 4

IR spectrum of a membrane with N = 5.41 and M = 0.45 (no glycerol included)

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Figure 5

DSC thermograms for two different membranes (second cycle): N = 4.06, M = 0.34, no added glycerol (upper curve) and N = 5.41, M = 0.45 (higher content of sulfonic groups), reticulated with glycerol (lower curve)

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Figure 6

Relative swelling of unfunctionalized polyurethanes at increasing N values

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Figure 7

Relative swelling of two sets of ionomeric membranes: without glycerol (▴) and with glycerol (♦) as a function of M. N = 5.41 in all samples.

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Figure 8

Weight loss after immersion in water and rinsing for two sets of ionomeric membranes: without glycerol (▴) and with glycerol (♦) as a function of M. N = 5.41 in all samples

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Figure 9

Proton conductivity (mS/cm) as a function of the temperature for two different membranes without glycerol: N = 4.06, M = 0.34, thickness 72 μm (▴) and N = 5.41, M = 0.45, thickness 120 μm (♦)

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Figure 10

Best H2 /Air fuel cell performance obtained using the functionalized polyurethane based membranes. N = 5.41, M = 0.45 membrane, reticulated with addition of glycerol, thickness 118 μm (○; •); cell temperature = 80 °C. N = 4.06, M = 0.34 membrane, without added glycerol, thickness 72 μm (▵; ▴); cell temperature = 50 °C.



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