An organically functionalized titania, TiO2-RSO3H, was evaluated as filler in sulfonated polyetheretherketone (sPEEK)-based composite membranes for application in high temperature direct methanol fuel cells. The presence of propylsulfonic acid groups covalently bound onto the TiO2 surface and the nanometric nature of the additive were analyzed by Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy, respectively. The properties of the sPEEK/TiO2-RSO3H composite membranes were compared with those of the pure sPEEK membranes and those of the sPEEK/TiO2 composite membranes containing pristine titania nanoparticles at same filler content. Water and methanol transport properties were investigated by NMR methods, including relaxation times and self-diffusion coefficients as function of temperature (up to 130 °C), and pressure (from 0 up to 2 kbar). The incorporation of the nanoadditivies in the sPEEK polymer demonstrates considerable effects on the morphology and stiffness of the membranes, as well as on the transport properties and barrier effect to the methanol crossover. In particular, the functionalization by propylsulfonic acid groups promotes a higher reticulation between the polymeric chains, increasing the tortuosity of the methanol diffusional paths, so reducing the molecular diffusion, while the proton mobility increases being favored by the Grotthus-type mechanism. Conductivity measurements point out that the filler surface functionalization avoids the reduction of the overall proton conduction of the electrolyte due to the embedding of the low-conducting TiO2. Finally, remarkable improvements were found when using the sPEEK/TiO2-RSO3H composite membrane as electrolyte in a DMFC, in terms of reduced methanol crossover and higher current and power density delivered.
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|Titolo:||Enhancement of proton mobility and mitigation of methanol crossover in sPEEK fuel cells by an organically modified titania nanofillers|
NICOTERA, Isabella (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|