Composite membranes with mordenite (MOR) incorporated in poly vinyl alcohol (PVA)-polystyrene sulfonic acid (PSSA) blend tailored with varying degree of sulfonation are reported. Such a membrane comprises a dispersed phase of mordenite and a continuous phase of the polymer that help tuning the flow of methanol and water across it. The membranes on prolonged testing in a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) exhibit mitigated methanol cross-over from anode to the cathode. The membranes have been tested for their sorption behaviour, ion-exchange capacity, electrochemical selectivity and mechanical strength as also characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis. Water release kinetics has been measured by magnetic resonance imaging (NMR imaging) and is found to be in agreement with the sorption data. Similarly, methanol release kinetics studied by volume-localized NMR spectroscopy (point resolved spectroscopy, PRESS) clearly demonstrates that the dispersion of mordenite in PVA-PSSA retards the methanol release kinetics considerably. A peak power-density of 74 mW/cm2 is achieved for the DMFC using a PVA-PSSA membrane electrolyte with 50% degree of sulfonation and 10 wt.% dispersed mordenite phase. A methanol cross-over current as low as 7.5 mA/cm2 with 2 M methanol feed at the DMFC anode is observed while using the optimized composite membrane as electrolyte in the DMFC, which is about 60% and 46% lower than Nafion-117 and PVA-PSSA membranes, respectively, when tested under identical conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Filtration and Separation