Polymer electrolyte membranes are developed from blends of chemically durable silicone-containing epoxy (Si-Epoxy) and proton conducting sulfonic polyimide (SPI). A charge-transfer (CT) complex is formed between electron-donating dihydroxynaphthalene units in Si-Epoxy, and electron-accepting naphthalenediimide units in SPI, as confirmed via X-ray diffraction and visible spectroscopy. The blend membranes show comparable mechanical strength to Nafion 211, but the elongation to break is much lower, indicating better resistance to deformation under strain stress, attributed to CT complex formation. The chemical durability of the blend membranes was much higher than pure SPI according to Fenton's test, also attributed to CT complex formation. Meanwhile, the proton conductivity is dependent on the sulfonic acid content of the SPI, which in turn affects the fuel cell performance. The maximum proton conductivity was measured to be 23.1 mS cm−1 at 80°C and 90 %RH for a 1:1 blend, and the membranes were successfully incorporated into PEFCs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry