Surface behavior of sulfonated hydrocarbon proton exchange membranes

Authors: He, Chen Feng
Advisor: Kaliaguine, S.Guiver, Michael D.Mighri, Frej
Abstract: The fuel cell has received attention as a promising eco-friendly alternative energy source to fossil fuels. Polymer exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) have attracted increasing interest for use in motor vehicles and electronic applications including stationary and portable devices. As a key component of PEMFC and DMFC, PEM is required to perform multiple functions such as fuel separator, electrical insulator and ionic path to transport protons from the anode to the cathode. The presence of water in PEM is essential for traditional, sulfonated polymers to transfer protons and to facilitate proton conductivity. As Nafion, the proton conduction of the sulfonated PEM-type polymers depends upon the water content in the membranes. However, excessive water uptake in a PEM results in unacceptable dimensional change, dimensional mismatch with the electrodes, delaminating of catalyst layers from the PEM and loss of mechanical properties, which could result in poor membrane electrode assembly (MEA) performance or durability. As a highly integrated system, fuel cells are used in a heterogeneous environment containing gas, liquid, and solid. Typically, MEAs are constructed by bonding carbonsupported platinum catalyst electrodes onto the PEM electrolyte. Regardless of the PEM used, a Nafion-type ionomer is usually employed as a catalyst support. The structure and activity at the different interfaces, the adhesion and compatibility among various layers, as well as fuel property on PEM play key roles on the fuel cell universal performance as vital as the individual components. Among these heterogeneous concerns, crossover of methanol in PEM, such as Nafion, limits DEMFC applications. In spite of the development of numerous hydrocarbon PEMs as substitutes to Nafion, the surface behavior and interfacial match between a PEM and the other layers, such as, the interface between a PEM and gas diffusion layer/catalyst layer/methanol layer are less understood. In this thesis, the surface/interface behavior of a representative selection of hydrocarbon-based proton exchange membranes (PEMs) was investigated. These PEMs are: copolymerized sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone) (SPEEK-HQ), sulfophenylated poly(aryl ether ether ketone) (Ph-SPEEK), sulfophenylated poly(aryl ether ether ketone ketone) (Ph-m-SPEEKK), and sulfonated poly (aryl ether ether nitrile) (SPAEEN-B).
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2018
Open Access Date: 18 September 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/31224
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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