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Keywords:

  • poly(ether ether ketone) (PEEK);
  • SPEEK;
  • proton exchange membranes (PEM);
  • mechanical properties

Abstract

A study to evaluate the tensile mechanical properties of sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone) (SPEEK) and BPO4/SPEEK composite membranes has been carried out. It is aimed to give an assessment of these materials for applications in proton exchange membrane fuel cells. The stress–strain response of the membranes was measured as a function of the degree of sulfonation (DS) and the filler–matrix ratio. In addition, the effects of immersion in water at various temperatures were explored in situ by means of a homemade testing chamber fitted to the tensile analyzer. The results indicate that the DS has an important influence on the final mechanical behavior of the membranes. The introduction of the BPO4 solid filler leads to deterioration in mechanical performance compared to unfilled SPEEK. A general picture of the microstructural features influencing the mechanical properties of SPEEK and BPO4/SPEEK membranes is proposed. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 98: 2380–2393, 2005