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Polymer Membranes for Fuel Cells

Membrane Applications

  1. Ryszard Wycisk,
  2. Jason Ballengee,
  3. Peter N. Pintauro

Published Online: 19 APR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118522318.emst087

Encyclopedia of Membrane Science and Technology

Encyclopedia of Membrane Science and Technology

How to Cite

Wycisk, R., Ballengee, J. and Pintauro, P. N. 2013. Polymer Membranes for Fuel Cells. Encyclopedia of Membrane Science and Technology. 1–33.

Author Information

  1. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 APR 2013


Polymeric membranes are a key component of hydrogen/air and direct methanol fuel cells. The desired properties of fuel cell membranes are (i) high proton conductivity, (ii) high mechanical strength, (iii) good oxidative and thermal stability, (iv) low fuel and oxidant permeability, and (v) low cost. The most important and most widely studied membrane polymers include perfluorosulfonic acids (PFSAs), poly(arylene ether)s, polyimides, polyphosphazenes, and polybenzimidazole. Membranes are fabricated via melt extrusion and, most frequently, by solution casting. Composite membranes offer improved mechanical strength and higher temperature stability. Typically, composite membranes are obtained by pore filling, layer-by-layer assembly, and electrospinning. The list of current fuel cell membrane manufacturers is relatively short. Most notable is E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co., which sells PFSA membranes under the trade name Nafion®. Other manufacturers are Solvay Solexis, FuMA-Tech, BASF, Tokuyama, and Asahi Kasei Chemical Corporation.


  • cation exchange membranes;
  • anion exchange membrane;
  • hydrogen/air fuel cell;
  • direct methanol fuel cell;
  • perfluorosulfonic acid;
  • membrane manufacturers