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Keywords:

  • crosslinking;
  • electron beam irradiation;
  • polymer electrolyte fuel cell;
  • proton exchange membrane;
  • radiation grafting

Abstract

Polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) membranes based on crosslinked tetrafluoroethylene-co-hexafluoropropylene (FEP) have been fabricated by pre-irradiation grafting method. The chemical structures of crosslinked materials have been analyzed by Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) and 19F solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The radical yields of irradiated samples were measued by Electron Spin Resonance (ESR), and the mechanism of grafting reaction has been discussed. The styrene grafted materials were sulfonated by chlorosulfonic acid. The ion exchange capacity of the obtained sulfonated crosslinked FEP (S-FEP-X) showed 2.0 to 2.4 meq/g, which were 2.2 to 2.7 times higher than that of Nafion®112. Glass transition temperatures (Tg) of S-FEP-X were almost independent on crosslinking dose of FEP, and show about 96 °C, which are slightly higher than that of Nafion®. The electrochemical properties of the membranes have been measured, and cell performances of them have been evaluated. Ionic conductivities (ICs) of S-FEP-X are 1.2 to 1.6 times higher than that of Nafion®. The higher network densities gave the higher open circuit voltage (OCV). The power density of S-FEP-600kGy was about 10% higher than that of Nafion® at 500mA/cm2. Thus, the obtained sulfonated membranes can be expected to apply for high efficiency PEFC.