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Mechanisms of membrane degradation

Fuel Cell Technology and Applications

Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells and systems (PEMFC)

State–of–the–art performance and durability

  1. A. B. LaConti,
  2. M. Hamdan,
  3. R. C. McDonald

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f303055

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

LaConti, A. B., Hamdan, M. and McDonald, R. C. 2010. Mechanisms of membrane degradation. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. Giner Electrochemical Systems, Newton, MA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Introduction of proton-exchange membranes as solid electrolytes has permitted the development of fuel cells that utilize hydrogen, reformate gas and methanol as reactants. Modern fuel cells have extended service life and reliability and increased power and energy density. The need for fuel cell operating in excess of 5000 h for transportation and 30 000 h for stationary applications has led to extensive investigations of the failure modes in an effort to understand the primary mechanical, chemical and electrochemical mechanisms. This chapter reviews the progress in understanding the limitations of fuel cell operation with historical and current state-of-the-art membranes and suggests directions for achieving further improvement.


  • proton-exchange membranes;
  • perfluorocarbon;
  • Nafion® membrane;
  • metal ions;
  • hydrogen peroxide;
  • temperature effects;
  • membrane life;
  • gas permeation