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Mitigating phosphoric acid migration in high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells with hydrophobic polysilsesquioxane-based binders

Latest updated: November 22, 2023

Authors: Dong-Yeop Yoo, Jiyoon Jung, Young Sang Park, Gwan Hyun Choi, Ho Gyu Yoon, Seung Sang Hwang and Albert S. Lee

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1039/D3TA03592A
Instrument(s) Used: SP-300

Cross-linkable organosilsesquioxanes were synthesized for application as catalyst binders in high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (HT-PEMFCs). Four different organic functional groups were examined including methyl, phenyl, fluoroalkyl, and fluorophenyl and their chemical, physical, surface, and electrochemical properties were characterized. The effect of surface hydrophobicity on a HT-PEMFC membrane electrode assembly was elucidated, showing that organosilsesquioxanes with lower surface tension or higher hydrophobicity towards water and phosphoric acid could be considered as a key parameter for HT-PEMFC performance. Fuel cell tests showed that the pentafluorophenyl-functionalized organosilsesquioxane showed improved H2/air performance (a peak power density of 527 mW cm−2 at 0.4 V) compared to the MEA with PTFE (a peak power density of 425 mW cm−2 at 0.4 V). Short term durability tests for 500 h showed that membrane electrode assemblies with alternative binders were stable and the developed organosilsesquioxane binders are a viable alternative to PTFE-based binders, all the while having additional advantages in vastly simplified ink slurry preparation through increased dispersibility in alcohol–water mixtures.

Fuel cell High-temperature PEM

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