Research Papers

The Importance of Ion Selectivity of Perfluorinated Sulfonic Acid Membrane for the Performance of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
Shuang Ma Andersen

Department of Chemical Engineering,
Biotechnology and Environmental Technology,
University of Southern Denmark,
Campusvej 55,
Odense M 5230, Denmark
e-mail: mashu@kbm.sdu.dk

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received May 12, 2014; final manuscript received December 28, 2015; published online January 22, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Umberto Desideri.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 12(6), 061010 (Jan 22, 2016) (7 pages) Paper No: FC-14-1062; doi: 10.1115/1.4032430 History: Received May 12, 2014; Revised December 28, 2015

Nafion 212 membrane was subjected to swelling–dehydration (SD) cycles, as a relevant operation condition for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). The major degradation mechanism due to the treatment was found to be sulfonic group contamination with trace ion, rather than formation of sulfonic anhydride, which is a well-known degradation mechanism for Nafion® membranes under hydrothermal (HT) aging condition. The consequences of the degradation include decreasing water content, thickness, and surface fluoride and increasing resistance, dry weight, and a changed surface morphology. Ion selectivity of the sulfonic group was studied toward different fuel cell relevant conditions. It turned out that the sulfonic groups have much higher selectivity toward cations rather than neighbor sulfonic groups. Trace impurities in the liquid methanol feed in DMFC may therefore represent an important contamination source.

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Fig. 1

Weight change for hydrated and dried form (the last point is after acid activation)

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Fig. 2

Thickness of different states (the last point is after acid activation)

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Fig. 3

Resistance and hydration number as functions of number of cycles (the last point is recorded after acid activation)

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Fig. 4

Nafion resistance and hydration number

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Fig. 5

Evolution of the elements in the membrane (the last point is after acid activation)

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Fig. 6

SEM of Nafion: (a) original, (b) SD64 cycles and then acid activated, (c) SD 28 cycles, and (d) SD 64 cycles

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Fig. 7

Smoothed Raman spectra of Nafion of different conditions

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Fig. 8

FT-IR of Nafion of different treatments

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Fig. 9

FT-IR of Nafion–sulfonic anhydrate of different treatments

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Fig. 10

FT-IR of HT aged, HT aged after 108-hr FC operation, and original Nafion

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Fig. 11

Single-cell operation based on a HT-aged Nafion as electrolyte

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Fig. 12

IEC as function of normalized ion equilibrium concentration

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Fig. 13

Membrane resistance as function of normalized ion equilibrium concentration



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