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A capillary water retention effect to improve medium-temperature fuel cell performance

Authors
Journal
Electrochemistry Communications
1388-2481
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
31
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.elecom.2013.03.018
Keywords
  • Fuel Cell
  • Polymer Electrolyte Membrane
  • Medium-Temperature
  • Sulfonated Poly(Arylene Ether Sulfone)
  • Morphology

Abstract

Abstract We demonstrate that small and narrow hydrophilic conducting domain morphology in sulfonated aromatic membranes leads to much better fuel cell performance at medium temperature and low humidity conditions than those with larger hydrophilic domains. A comparison of three types of sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone)s (SPAES) with random, block, and graft architecture indicates that small hydrophilic domain sizes (<5nm) appear to be important in supporting water retention under low relative humidity (RH) conditions intended for medium temperature (>100°C) fuel cell applications. The graft copolymer outperformed both a random copolymer and multiblock copolymer at 120°C and 35% RH fuel cell operating conditions due to capillary condensation of water within the 3–5nm hydrophilic domains.

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