Electrospinning PFSA + PVDF Nanofibers for Fuel Cell Membrane Fabrication
Recently our group has begun fabricating dual-fiber Nafion-PVDF and AquivionÒ-PVDF composite proton conducting membranes (Aquivion is a short side chain 825 EW PFSA polymer from Solvay Solexis). These membranes were designed for use in regenerative hydrogen-bromide and conventional hydrogen/air fuel cells. Two general membrane structures were prepared: (1) membranes with “melted” PVDF fibers that fill the voids between PFSA fibers, and (2) membranes with “melted” PFSA which fills the voids between PVDF nanofibers. These two membrane types were obtained from the same as-spun two-component mats using the procedures described in the preceding paragraph. The PFSA content of membranes was typically in the range 30-60% PVDF for morphology #1 and 20-50% for morphology #2.
This presentation will provide additional details regarding the fabrication and properties of PFSA/PVDF fuel cell membranes. Specific topics to be covered in the talk are:
- New ways of electrospinning Nafion and Aquivion nanofibers
- Nanofiber composite membranes where an interconnecting network of PFSA nanofibers is embedded in a PVDF matrix.
- Nanofiber composite membranes where PVDF nanofibers are embedded in a PFSA matrix
- PFSA/PVDF blended membranes with no nanofiber morphology.
The various membranes in items 2-4 will be contrasted with one another and with commercial Nafion 212 films in terms of the following fuel cell properties: proton conductivity, gravimetric and areal water swelling, wet/dry mechanical properties, and gas permeability. Physical property differences will be linked with changes in membrane morphology.
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 J.B. Ballengee and P.N. Pintauro, Macromolecules, 44, 7307, 2011.