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Morphological studies of polymer electrolytes for fuel cell application

Titel Englisch Morphological studies of polymer electrolytes for fuel cell application
Gesuchsteller/in Kohlbrecher Joachim
Nummer 135074
Förderungsinstrument Projektförderung (Abt. I-III)
Forschungseinrichtung Paul Scherrer Institut
Hochschule Paul Scherrer Institut - PSI
Hauptdisziplin Physikalische Chemie
Beginn/Ende 01.04.2011 - 31.10.2013
Bewilligter Betrag 220'700.00
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Alle Disziplinen (3)

Disziplin
Physikalische Chemie
Chemische Verfahrenstechnik
Physik der kondensierten Materie

Keywords (5)

polymer electrolyte fuel cell; proton exchange membrane; scattering techniques ; SANS; SAXS

Lay Summary (Englisch)

Lead
Lay summary
The polymer electrolyte fuel cell is a clean and efficient electrochemical energy conversion device that converts chemical energy from a fuel (here: hydrogen) directly into electric energy. In contrast to a conventional battery, a fuel cell consumes the reactant from an external source and the exhaust emission would be simply water. Fuel cell systems are attractive for portable electronics, distributed power sources, and electric vehicles. Despite the increasing interest in ion-conducting polymer electrolytes, the influence of the molecular composition on the morphology, and the influence of the morphology on the functional properties are far from being understood. Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) are used to probe the morphology of the fuel cell membranes on the nanometer scale. By that we aim to understand and interpret fundamental relationships between the molecular content, the macromolecular structure, the morphology, and the fuel cell-relevant properties of graft-copolymer electrolytes. Although over the past decade substantial advances have been made in the technology of polymer electrolyte fuel cells, the limited durability and inherently high cost of commercially available electrolytes still impede the large-scale market introduction. Understanding fundamental structure-property relationships in graft-copolymer electrolytes contributes to the design of copolymer architectures having optimal properties
Direktlink auf Lay Summary Letzte Aktualisierung: 21.02.2013

Verantw. Gesuchsteller/in und weitere Gesuchstellende

Mitarbeitende

Publikationen

Publikation
Structure of the hydrophilic phase and its impact on the conductivity of graft copolymer ionomers at low hydration level
S. Balog U. Gasser K. Jetsrisuparb L. Gubler (2013), Structure of the hydrophilic phase and its impact on the conductivity of graft copolymer ionomers at low hydration level, in Polymer, 54, 4266-4275.
Structure of the ion-rich phase in DVB cross-linked graft-copolymer proton-exchange membranes
Balog S, Gasser U, Mortensen K, Ben Youcef H, Gubler L, Scherer GG (2012), Structure of the ion-rich phase in DVB cross-linked graft-copolymer proton-exchange membranes, in POLYMER, 53(1), 175-182.
Nano-scale morphology in graft copolymer proton-exchange membranes cross-linked with DIPB
Balog S, Gasser U, Mortensen K, Ben Youcef H, Gubler L, Scherer GG (2011), Nano-scale morphology in graft copolymer proton-exchange membranes cross-linked with DIPB, in JOURNAL OF MEMBRANE SCIENCE, 383(1-2), 50-59.

Verbundene Projekte

Nummer Titel Start Förderungsinstrument
156604 Radiation grafted proton conducting membranes for high-temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cells 01.02.2015 Projektförderung (Abt. I-III)
147502 Polymer membranes for fuel cells: failure mechanisms and biaxial orientation 01.02.2013 Internationale Kurzaufenthalte

Abstract

Fuel cells are clean and efficient electrochemical energy conversion devices. The polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) is particularly attractive for applications with variable load profile and intermittent operation, such as portable electronics, distributed power sources, and electric vehicles. Although over the past fifteen years substantial advances have been made worldwide in PEFC technology, the limited durability and inherently high cost of commercially available electrolytes still impede the large-scale market introduction. At the Electrochemistry Laboratory of Paul Scherrer Institut, novel electrolytes are being developed. The current focus is 1.) to improve the chemical stability of partially fluorinated or hydrocarbon membranes (susceptibility towards radical attack), 2.) to obtain mechanical robustness at high ionic content, 3.) to moderate the loss of proton conductivity at low water content, and 4.) to extend the existing chemical and mechanical stability above an operation temperature of 100°C. To meet these objectives, to understand and, as a consequence, to engineer the complex structure-property relationship is of paramount importance. The structure-property relationships can be interpreted as correlations between molecular composition, copolymer structure, electrolyte morphology, and functionally relevant properties, as for example proton conductivity and degradation mechanisms. Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) are proven tools to investigate the structure and morphology of such polymer electrolytes over a wide range of length scales. Therefore we apply for funding a postdoctoral position for two years at the Laboratory for Neutron Scattering. The focus of the postdoctoral research is to study the morphology and structure of the polymer electrolytes and establish quantitative structure-property relationships. SANS and SAXS results are to be correlated with the results of standard characterization techniques from the part of Electrochemistry Laboratory such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), confocal Raman spectroscopy, and thermogravimetry (TGA). These techniques will be used to analyze the molecular composition and the functionally relevant electrolyte properties. Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) is an outstanding environment for the proposed project, which further strengthens the synergy between the two in-house laboratories (Laboratory for Neutron Scattering, Electrochemistry Laboratory) as well as exploits the large-scale facilities available at Paul Scherrer Institut (SANS at the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source and SAXS at the Swiss Light Source).
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