Porous substrate-reinforced composite membranes have been extensively investigated due to their promising application to proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC). In this study, we develop a new ceramic-based reinforcing porous substrate, which consists of hygroscopic silica (SiO 2) nanoparticles interconnected by 3-glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane (GPTMS)-based silicate binders and a poly(paraphenylene terephthalamide) (PPTA) nonwoven support. This unusual ceramic substrate is featured with the strong mechanical strength, well-developed nanoporous structure (i.e., nanosized interstitial voids formed between the close-packed SiO 2 nanoparticles), high hydrophilicity, and more notably, good water retention capability. The nanostructured pores of the ceramic substrate are subsequently impregnated with sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) (SPAES, degree of sulfonation = 49.3%). In comparison to a pristine SPAES membrane, the ceramic substrate-reinforced SPAES composite membrane offers the significantly improved dimensional change and also effectively mitigates the steep decline of proton conductivity at low humidity conditions, which is further discussed by considering the state of water in the reinforced composite membrane.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Fundamental R&D Program for Core Technology of Materials funded by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. This research was also supported by a grant from the Fundamental R&D Program for Technology of World Premier Materials funded by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Republic of Korea. This research was also supported by the Converging Research Center Program through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( 2010K001090 ).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology