Sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone)/clay-SO3H hybrid proton exchange membranes for direct methanol fuel cells

Tiezhu Fu, Zhiming Cui, Shuangling Zhong, Yuhua Shi, Chengji Zhao, Gang Zhang, Ke Shao, Hui Na, Wei Xing

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67 Scopus citations


A new type of sulfonated clay (clay-SO3H) was prepared by the ion exchange method with the sulfanilic acid as the surfactant agent. The grafted amount of sulfanilic acid in clay-SO3H was 51.8 mequiv. (100 g)-1, which was measured by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone) (SPEEK)/clay-SO3H hybrid membranes which composed of SPEEK and different weight contents of clay-SO3H, were prepared by a solution casting and evaporation method. For comparison, the SPEEK/clay hybrid membranes were produced with the same method. The performances of hybrid membranes for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) in terms of mechanical and thermal properties, water uptake, water retention, methanol permeability and proton conductivity were investigated. The mechanical and thermal properties of the SPEEK membranes had been improved by introduction of clay and clay-SO3H, obviously. The water desorption coefficients of the SPEEK and hybrid membranes were studied at 80 °C. The results showed that the addition of the inorganic part into SPEEK membrane enhanced the water retention of the membrane. Both methanol permeability and proton conductivity of the hybrid membranes decreased in comparison to the pristine SPEEK membrane. However, it was worth noting that higher selectivity defined as ratio of proton conductivity to methanol permeability of the SPEEK/clay-SO3H-1 hybrid membrane with 1 wt.% clay-SO3H was obtained than that of the pristine SPEEK membrane. These results showed that the SPEEK/clay-SO3H hybrid membrane with 1 wt.% clay-SO3H had potential usage of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) for DMFCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 15 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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