Novel sulfonated Nafion®-based composite membranes with pillararene as selective artificial proton channels for application in direct methanol fuel cells

Journal Article

© 2015 Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Proton exchange membranes (PEM) are critical components of low temperature fuel cells. Most PEMs are made of perfluorinated sulfonic acid polymers such as Nafion®. However, Nafion has a high methanol permeability which is limiting its applicability in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). Here, we report on novel sulfonated pillar[5]arene/Nafion composite membranes with improved properties for application in DMFCs. The properties of the novel composite membranes were investigated under a range of synthesis and operating conditions. Under most conditions, the novel composite membranes exhibited properties far superior than Nafion. For example, the proton conductivity of the sulfonated pillar[5]arene's (10 wt.%)/Nafion composite membrane was 0.145 × 10-4 S cm-1 at 80 °C, while methanol permeability was 2.43 × 10-6 cm2 /s. Proton selectivity was increased up to two-fold compared to Nafion-recast membrane. The likely mechanisms for improvements were discussed. Overall, these results indicate that these novel composite membranes are promising for application in DMFCs.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Shen, L; Sun, Z; Chu, Y; Zou, J; Deshusses, MA

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 / 38

Start / End Page

  • 13071 - 13079

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0360-3199

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2015.07.073

Citation Source

  • Scopus