Superacidic Electrospun Fiber-Nafion Hybrid Proton Exchange Membranes

Authors

  • Yingfang Yao,

    1. Fiber and Polymer Science Program, Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8301, USA
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  • Zhan Lin,

    1. Fiber and Polymer Science Program, Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8301, USA
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  • Ying Li,

    1. Fiber and Polymer Science Program, Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8301, USA
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  • Mataz Alcoutlabi,

    1. Fiber and Polymer Science Program, Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8301, USA
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  • Hechmi Hamouda,

    1. Fiber and Polymer Science Program, Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8301, USA
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  • Xiangwu Zhang

    Corresponding author
    1. Fiber and Polymer Science Program, Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8301, USA
    • Fiber and Polymer Science Program, Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8301, USA.
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Abstract

A novel type of hybrid membrane has been fabricated by incorporating superacidic sulfated zirconia (S-ZrO2) fibers into recast Nafion for proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). With the introduction of electrospun superacidic fiber mats, a large amount of protogenic groups aggregated in the interfacial region between S-ZrO2 fibers and the ionomer matrix, forming continuous pathways for facile proton transport. The resultant hybrid membranes had high proton conductivities, which were controlled by selectively adjusting the fiber diameter and fiber volume fraction. Consequently, the superacidic S-ZrO2 electrospun fibers are promising filler materials and hybrid membranes containing S-ZrO2 fiber mats can be potentially used in high-performance fuel cells.

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