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Nafion–Carbon Nanocomposite Membranes Prepared Using Hydrothermal Carbonization for Proton-Exchange-Membrane Fuel Cells

Authors

  • Zhanli Chai,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Clayton VIC 3182, Australia
    2. College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Inner Mongolia University, Inner Mongolia 010021, P. R. China
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  • Cheng Wang,

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Resource Utilization, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130022, P. R. China
    • State Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Resource Utilization, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130022, P. R. China
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  • Hongjie Zhang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Resource Utilization, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130022, P. R. China
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  • Cara M. Doherty,

    1. CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering, Locked Bag 33, Clayton South MDC, VIC 3169, Australia
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  • Bradley P. Ladewig,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Clayton VIC 3182, Australia
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  • Anita J. Hill,

    1. CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering, Locked Bag 33, Clayton South MDC, VIC 3169, Australia
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  • Huanting Wang

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Clayton VIC 3182, Australia
    • Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Clayton VIC 3182, Australia.
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Abstract

Nafion–carbon (NC) composite membranes were prepared by hydrothermal treatment of Nafion membrane impregnated with glucose solution. The carbon loading of the NC membrane was tuned by controlling the hydrothermal carbonization time. X-ray diffraction, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, and positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy were used to characterize plain Nafion and NC composite membranes. Nafion–carbon composite membranes exhibited better proton conductivity and reduced methanol permeability than those of the plain Nafion membrane. A single cell prepared with the NC composite membrane with a carbon loading of 3.6 wt% exhibited the highest cell performance. Compared with the cell performance of plain Nafion membrane, the maximum power density of the new cell improved by 31.7% for an H2/O2 fuel cell at room temperature, and by 44.0% for a direct methanol fuel cell at 60 °C.

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