Perfluorosulfonic acid proton exchange membrane with double proton site side chain for high-performance fuel cells at Low Humidity

Hongyun Tan, Shengqiu Zhao, S. Eltahir Ali , Shuhong Zheng, Abdullah K. Alanazi, Rui Wang, Haining Zhang, Hala M. Abo-Dief, Ben Bin Xu, Hassan Algadi, Handong Li, Priyanka Wasnik, Zhanhu Guo, Haolin Tang

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Structural optimization of ionomers is an effective strategy for achieving high-performance proton exchange membranes (PEMs) under low relative humidity (RH) conditions. In this study, sulfonimide group and trifluoromethanesulfonate acid (TFSA) ionic liquids were introduced to the perfluorosul-fonic acid (PFSA) side chain, resulting in polymer membranes with varying chain lengths (i.e., PFC2-TF-SI, PFC4-TF-SI, and PFC5-TF-SI). This dual proton-conducting structure extended the length of the hydrophilic side chain and enhanced the hydrophobic-hydrophilic phase separation, aiding in the formation of proton transport channels. Notably, the proton conductivity of PFC5-TF-SI and PFC2-TF-SI membranes reached 7.1 and 10.6 mS/cm at 30% RH and 80°C, respectively, which were approximately 29.1% and 92.7% higher than that of the pristine PFC5-SA membrane (5.5 mS/cm). Furthermore, the maximum power density of the PFC5-TF-SI and PFC2-TF-SI membranes from the built single fuel cell achieved 649 and 763 mW/cm2 at 30% RH and 80°C, respectively, which were higher than that of the pristine PFC5-SA membrane (567 mW/cm2) by about 14.5% and 34.6%, re-spectively. Thus, this study provides a strategy for PEM design under low RH conditions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Materials Science and Technology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Mar 2023

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