Ameliorated Performance of Sulfonated Poly(Arylene Ether Sulfone) Block Copolymers with Increased Hydrophilic Oligomer Ratio in Proton-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells Operating at 80% Relative Humidity

Ae Rhan Kim, Vinothkannan Mohanraj, Kyu Ha Lee, Ji Young Chu, Sumg Kwan Ryu, Hwan Gyu Kim, Jae-Young Lee , Hong-Ki Lee, Dong Jin Yoo

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Abstract

We designed and synthesized a series of sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) (SPES) with different hydrophilic or hydrophobic oligomer ratios using poly-condensation strategy. Afterward, we fabricated the corresponding membranes via a solution-casting approach. We verified the SPES membrane chemical structure using nuclear magnetic resonance ( 1H NMR) and confirmed the resulting oligomer ratio. Field-emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) and atomic force microscope (AFM) results revealed that we effectively attained phase separation of the SPES membrane along with an increased hydrophilic oligomer ratio. Thermal stability, glass transition temperature (T g) and membrane elongation increased with the ratio of hydrophilic oligomers. SPES membranes with higher hydrophilic oligomer ratios exhibited superior water uptake, ion-exchange capacity, contact angle and water sorption, while retaining reasonable swelling degree. The proton conductivity results showed that SPES containing higher amounts of hydrophilic oligomers provided a 74.7 mS cm -1 proton conductivity at 90 °C, which is better than other SPES membranes, but slightly lower than that of Nafion-117 membrane. When integrating SPES membranes with proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) at 60 °C and 80% relative humidity (RH), the PEMFC power density exhibited a similar increment-pattern like proton conductivity pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1871
Number of pages16
JournalPolymers
Volume12
Issue number9
Early online date20 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution
(CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Funder

This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF2020R1A2B5B01001458). This work was supported by the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE) of the Republic of Korea (No.20184030202210). This work was financially supported by grants from the Medical Research Center Program (NRF-2017R1A5A2015061) through the National Research Foundation (NRF), which is funded by the South Korean government (MSIP).

Funding: This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF2020R1A2B5B01001458). This work was supported by the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE) of the Republic of Korea (No.20184030202210). This work was financially supported by grants from the Medical Research Center Program (NRF-2017R1A5A2015061) through the National Research Foundation (NRF), which is funded by the South Korean government (MSIP).

Keywords

  • 80% relative humidity
  • Phase-separation
  • Proton conductivity
  • Proton-exchange membrane fuel cells
  • Sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics

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