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Keywords:

  • proton exchange membrane;
  • titania;
  • sol–gel process;
  • water retention;
  • ionic conductivity

Abstract

Proton exchange membranes consisting of Nafion® and crystallized titania nanoparticles have been developed to improve water-retention and proton conductivity at elevated temperature and low relative humidity. The anatase-type titania nanoparticles were synthesized in situ in Nafion solution through sol–gel process and the size of the formed titiania nanoparticles is in the range of 3–6 nm. The formed nanoparticles are well-dispersed in Nafion solution at the titania concentration of 5 wt %. The glass transition temperature of the formed Nafion-titania composite membrane is about 20oC higher than that of plain Nafion membrane. At elevated temperature (above 100°C), the Nafion-titania nanocomposite membrane shows higher water uptake ability and improved proton conductivity compared to pure Nafion membrane. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011