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Fabrication of inorganic/polymer nanocomposite membranes containing very high silica content via in situ surface grafting reaction and reactive dispersion of silica nanoparticles: Proton conduction, water uptake, and oxidative stability

Authors

  • Ju-Young Kim,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Advanced Materials Engineering, College of Engineering, Kangwon National University, Samcheok, Gangwon-Do 245-711, South Korea
    • Department of Advanced Materials Engineering, College of Engineering, Kangwon National University, Samcheok, Gangwon-Do 245-711, South Korea
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  • Young-Hwan Ohn,

    1. Department of Advanced Materials Engineering, College of Engineering, Kangwon National University, Samcheok, Gangwon-Do 245-711, South Korea
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  • Kyo-Jin Ihn,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, Kangwon National University, Chunchon, Gangwon-Do 200-701, South Korea
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  • Changhyun Lee

    1. Macrmolecules and Interfaces Institute and Chemistry Department, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24601
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Abstract

In this study, we present a new fabrication process for proton exchange membranes based on inorganic/organic nanocomposite using in situ surface grafting reaction and reactive dispersion of silica nanoparticles in the presence of reactive dispersant, urethane acrylate nonionomer (UAN). Through in situ surface grafting reaction of silica nanoparticles, urethane acrylates were chemically introduced on the surface of silica nanoparticles, which were dispersed in DMSO solutions containing UAN and sodium styrene sulfonate (NaSS). After urethane linkage and copolymerization of NaSS, UAN and urethane acrylate moieties of silica nanoparticles, the solutions were converted to silica nanoparticle-dispersed proton exchange membranes where silica particles were chemically connected with organic polymer chains. 5.89–29.45 wt % of silica nanoparticles could be dispersed and incorporated in polymer membranes, which were confirmed by transmittance electron microscopy (TEM) measurement. On varying weight % of silica nanoparticles dispersed within the membranes, water uptake and oxidative stability of nanocomposite membranes were largely changed, but membranes showed almost the same proton conductivity (greater than 10−2 S cm−1). At 5.89 wt % of silica nanoparticles, nanocomposite membranes showed the lowest water uptake and excellent oxidative stability compared to the sulfonated polyimide membranes fabricated by us. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011

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