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Proton-Conductive Nanochannel Membrane for Fuel-Cell Applications

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Novel design of proton conductive membrane for direct methanol fuel cells is based on proton conductivity of nanochannels, which is acquired due to the electric double layer overlap. Proton conductivity and methanol permeability of an array of nanochannels were studied. Anodic aluminum oxide with pore diameter of 20 nm was used as nanochannel matrix. Channel surfaces of an AAO template were functionalized with sulfonic groups to increase proton conductivity of nanochannels. This was done in two steps; at first –SH groups were attached to walls of nanochannels using (3-Mercaptopropyl)-trimethyloxysilane and then they were converted to –SO3H groups using hydrogen peroxide. Treatment steps were analyzed by Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy. Proton conductivity and methanol permeability were measured. The data show methanol permeability of membrane to be an order of magnitude lower, than that measured of Nafion®. Ion conductivity of functionalized AAO membrane was measured by an impedance analyzer at frequencies ranging from 1 Hz to 100 kHz and voltage 50 mV to be 0.15 Scm−1. Measured ion conductivity of Nafion® membrane was 0.05 Scm−1. Obtained data show better results in comparison with commonly used commercial available proton conductive membrane Nafion®, thus making nanochannel membrane very promising for use in fuel cell applications.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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