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Performance evaluation of zirconium phosphate incorporated novel polymer electrolyte membrane for fuel cells

Author: 
Perumal Bhavani, Dharmalingam Sangeetha
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

A novel composite electrolyte membrane, composed of sulfonated poly styrene ethylene butylenes poly styrene (SPSEBS) and zirconium phosphate (ZrPO4), was fabricated for fuel cell applications. Zirconium phosphate was prepared in–house by the reaction of zirconium oxychloride with phosphoric acid. It possesses appreciable proton conducting and donating characteristics along with excellent thermal stability and compatibility with the polymer membrane. In the fabrication of membranes, SPSEBS and ZrPO4 in tetrahydrofuran was thoroughly mixed and subsequently solvent evaporated. They were characterized by XRD, FTIR, TGA, DSC and UTM (Universal testing machine). Their ion-exchange capacity and water uptake increased with the increase in the content of ZrPO4, but the methanol cross-over favourably reduced. The proton conductivity was in the order of 10-2 S/cm which is an excellent result for application in fuel cells. The dispersion of ZrPO4 in the polymer matrix was uniform as evidenced by the SEM images. The fuel cell performance of the composite membranes was tested using 25 cm2 cell unit.

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