Polybenzimidazole/inorganic composite membrane with advanced performance for high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells

Kwangwon Seo, Jongchul Seo, Ki Ho Nam, Haksoo Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, Al–Si was synthesized via a sol–gel process and introduced in poly 2,2′-m-(phenylene)-5,5′-bibenzimidazole (PBI). As a result, a series of five Al–Si/PBI composite (ASPBI) membranes (0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 wt%) were developed and characterized for application in high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (HT-PEMFCs). The chemical and morphological structure of ASPBI membranes were analyzed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffractometer, and scanning electron microscopy. According to the doping level test and thermogravimetric analysis, as the concentration of Al–Si increased, the doping level increased up to 475% due to the affinity and interaction between Al and phosphoric acid (PA). Moreover, the proton conductivity, current density at 0.6 V, and maximum power density of ASPBI membranes increased up to 0.31 S cm−1, 0.320 A cm−2, and 0.370 W cm−2, respectively, because the increased concentration of Al–Si allows the membranes to hold more PA. Alternatively, as the amount of Al–Si increased, the tensile strength of PA-doped and -undoped membranes decreased. This was caused by both excess PA and aggregation, which can cause serious degradation of the membrane and induce cracks. Furthermore, the PA-doped and -undoped ASPBI12 had the lowest tensile strength of 11.6 and 77.2 MPa. The improved proton conductivity and single cell performance of ASPBI membranes implies that these membranes are possible candidates for HT-PEMFC applications. However, further studies seeking to enhance the compatibility between PBI and Al–Si and optimize the amount of filler should be performed. POLYM. COMPOS., 38:87–95, 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
JournalPolymer Composites
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Society of Plastics Engineers

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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