Fuel Cell Performance of Sulfonated Poly ... - Meeting Abstracts

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211th ECS Meeting, Abstract #937, © The Electrochemical Society
current density (mA/cm
2
)
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2
cell volt (V)
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.0
1.1
HFR (m
Ω cm2)
0.00
0.05
0.10
Nitrile Copolymer (43 µm thick)
Nafion 212 (47 µm thick)
Fuel Cell Performance of Sulfonated Poly(arylene
ether nitrile)s Having a Non-linear Backbone
Structure

Yu Seung Kim
1
, Bryan S. Pivovar
1
, Dae-Sik Kim
2
,
Michael D. Guiver
2


1
Materials, Physics and Applications-11,
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA

2
Institute for Chemical Process
and Environmental Technology,
National Research Council
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0R6, Canada

New polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs)
that have high proton conductivity, low reactant
permeability and reduced water uptake are required for
the fuel cell applications. In the last decade, sulfonated
poly(arylene ether)s are thought to be one of the
promising routes to high performance PEMs because of
their well-known oxidative and hydrolytic stability in the
fuel cell environment.
1
Previous studies indicated that a
nitrile group in the sulfonated polymer backbone plays an
important role in reducing their water uptake without
significant conductivity decrease.
2,3
Recently, sulfonated
poly(arylene ether nitrile)s having a non-linear backbone
structure were prepared by direct monomer
copolymerization of sulfonated naphthalenesulfonate,
dichlorobenzonitrile and biphenol.
4,5


In this research, we investigated the fuel cell
performance of the sulfonated poly(arylene ether nitrile)s
having a non-linear backbone structure. The nitrile
copolymers had lower density and more effective proton
conduction when compared with linear backbone analog
6
.
These membrane properties along with the reduced water
uptake and methanol permeability enhanced the fuel cell
performance. Fig.1 demonstrates the hydrogen/air fuel
cell performance of the nitrile copolymer with 60%
sulfonation. The current density of the single cell using
the nitrile copolymer reaches to 1.0 A/cm
2
at 0.7 V which
is comparable to that of industrial standard Nafion
®
.
Direct methanol fuel cell performance and durability
issues for these copolymers will be discussed at the
meeting.

References
1. M.A. Hickner, H. Ghassemi, Y.S. Kim, B.R. Einsla,
J.E. McGrath, Chem. Rev. 104, 4587, 2004.
2. M.J. Sumner, W.L. Harrison, R.M. Weyers, Y.S.
Kim, J.E. McGrath, J.S. Riffle, A. Brink, M.H. Brink,
J. Memb. Sci. 239, 199, 2004.
3. Y.S. Kim, M.J. Sumner, W.L. Harrison, J.S. Riffle,
J.E. McGrath, B.S. Pivovar, J. Electrochem. Soc.
151, A2150, 2004.
4. Y. Gao, G.P. Robertson, M.D. Guiver, S.D.
Mikahilenko, X. Li, S. Kaliaguine, Polymer 47, 808,
2006.
5. Y. Gao, G.P. Robertson, D.S. Kim, M.D. Guiver,
S.D. Mikhailenko, X. Li, S. Kaliaguine,
Macromolecules, submitted.
6. Y.S. Kim, B. Einsla, M. Sankir, W. Harrison, B. S.
Pivovar, Polymer, 47, 808, 2006.






















Fig. 1. H
2
/air Fuel cell performance of a sulfonated nitrile
copolymer at 80
o
C; fully humidified high stoic hydrogen
and air supplied at 20 psig backpressure.



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