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Hydrocarbon-Based Composite Membrane Using LCP-Nonwoven Fabrics for Durable Proton Exchange Membrane Water Electrolysis

Latest updated: November 21, 2023

Authors: Seok Hyeon Kang, Hwan Yeop Jeong, Sang Jun Yoon, Soonyong So, Jaewon Choi, Tae-Ho Kim and Duk Man Yu
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15092109
Instrument(s) Used: HCP-803

A new hydrocarbon-based (HC) composite membrane was developed using liquid crystal polymer (LCP)-nonwoven fabrics for application in proton exchange membrane water electrolysis (PEMWE). A copolymer of sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) with a sulfonation degree of 50 mol% (SPAES50) was utilized as an ionomer for the HC membranes and impregnated into the LCP-nonwoven fabrics without any surface treatment of the LCP. The physical interlocking structure between the SPAES50 and LCP-nonwoven fabrics was investigated, validating the outstanding mechanical properties and dimensional stability of the composite membrane in comparison to the pristine membrane. In addition, the through-plane proton conductivity of the composite membrane at 80 °C was only 15% lower than that of the pristine membrane because of the defect-free impregnation state, minimizing the decrease in the proton conductivity caused by the non-proton conductive LCP. During the electrochemical evaluation, the superior cell performance of the composite membrane was evident, with a current density of 5.41 A/cm2 at 1.9 V, compared to 4.65 A/cm2 for the pristine membrane, which can be attributed to the smaller membrane resistance of the composite membrane. From the results of the degradation rates, the prepared composite membrane also showed enhanced cell efficiency and durability during the PEMWE operations.

Water electrolysis Proton exchange membranes PEMWE

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