New Nanocomposite Hybrid Inorganic–Organic Proton-Conducting Membranes Based on Functionalized Silica and PTFE

Authors

  • Prof. Vito Di Noto,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Padova, Via Marzolo 1, I-35131, Padova (Italy), Fax:(+39) 049-827-5229
    • Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Padova, Via Marzolo 1, I-35131, Padova (Italy), Fax:(+39) 049-827-5229
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  • Dr. Matteo Piga,

    1. Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Padova, Via Marzolo 1, I-35131, Padova (Italy), Fax:(+39) 049-827-5229
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  • Dr. Guinevere A. Giffin,

    1. Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Padova, Via Marzolo 1, I-35131, Padova (Italy), Fax:(+39) 049-827-5229
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  • Dr. Enrico Negro,

    1. Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Padova, Via Marzolo 1, I-35131, Padova (Italy), Fax:(+39) 049-827-5229
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  • Dr. Claudio Furlan,

    1. Centro di Servizi Interdipartimentali C.U.G.A.S. University of Padova, Via G. Jappelli 1A, I-35131, Padova (Italy)
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  • Dr. Keti Vezzù

    1. Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Padova, Via Marzolo 1, I-35131, Padova (Italy), Fax:(+39) 049-827-5229
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  • PTFE=polytetrafluoroethylene.

Abstract

Two types of new nanocomposite proton-exchange membranes, consisting of functionalized and pristine nanoparticles of silica and silicone rubber (SR) embedded in a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) matrix, were prepared. The membrane precursor was obtained from a mechanical rolling process, and the SiO2 nanoparticles were functionalized by soaking the membranes in a solution of 2-(4-chlorosulfonylphenyl)ethyl trichlorosilane (CSPhEtCS). The membranes exhibit a highly compact morphology and a lack of fibrous PTFE. At 125 °C, the membrane containing the functionalized nanoparticles has an elastic modulus (2.2 MPa) that is higher than that of pristine Nafion (1.28 MPa) and a conductivity of 3.6×10−3 S cm−1 despite a low proton-exchange capacity (0.11 meq g−1). The good thermal and mechanical stability and conductivity at T>100 °C make these membranes a promising low-cost material for application in proton-exchange membrane fuel cells operating at temperatures higher than 100 °C.

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