Standard Article

Radiation-grafted proton conducting membranes

Advances in Electrocatalysis, Materials, Diagnostics and Durability

Conductive membranes for low-temperature fuel cells

Novel materials

  1. L. Gubler,
  2. G. G. Scherer

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f500020

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Gubler, L. and Scherer, G. G. 2010. Radiation-grafted proton conducting membranes. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen PSI, Switzerland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Proton exchange membranes have to fulfil two main functionalities in the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC): (i) transport protons from the anode to cathode and (ii) separate anode and cathode electrodes and reactants. Radiation grafting offers a versatile method to introduce proton conductivity into a preformed base polymer film. Base polymers and graft monomers can be selected from a wide range of commercially available commodity products. In this article, synthetic routes and parameters to control membrane composition and morphology are discussed. The choice of a base film and monomers, in particular crosslinkers, has large influence on the resulting membrane properties and fuel cell performance. To fulfil and sustain the separator functionality, dimensional stability and mechanical properties are of high importance. The development of materials for fuel cells and the need to further the understanding of limiting processes and degradation phenomena require a well-assorted toolbox for ex situ and in situ characterization of properties and performance. Implementation of accelerated test methods and post mortem analysis on a local scale have helped in enhancing the throughput of samples and gain further insight into prevailing degradation mechanisms.


  • fuel cell;
  • polymer electrolyte fuel cell;
  • proton exchange membrane;
  • radiation grafting;
  • radical polymerization;
  • graft copolymerization;
  • styrene;
  • divinylbenzene;
  • α-methylstyrene;
  • methacrylonitrile;
  • crosslinking;
  • polymer network;
  • dimensional stability;
  • degradation mechanism;
  • accelerated degradation;
  • rapid aging;
  • post mortem analysis