Locally confined membrane modification of sulfonated membranes for fuel cell application

N. Nambi Krishnan, Dirk Henkensmeier, Jong Hyun Jang, Steffen Hink, Hyoung Juhn Kim, Suk Woo Nam, Tae Hoon Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We report a method which protects sulfonated hydrocarbon based proton exchange membranes at the interface between active and non-active area and in the gas inlet/outlet areas, where stresses are maximal during fuel cell operation. The sensitive membrane regions are subjected to a locally confined heat treatment using a stainless steel frame, under which desulfonation and/or crosslinking reactions occur. While modifications in air limit the reaction temperature to 180°C, inert atmosphere allows to raise the temperature and thus to shorten the necessary reaction time from 24h to less than 30min. Membranes are prepared from a commercially available copolymer (SES0005, AquafoneTM), which has a high IEC (2.08meqg-1) and a water uptake of 64%. As expected, modified membranes show reduced IEC values, reduced water uptake, and increased dimensional stability. Catalyst coated membranes (CCMs) are assembled into single cells for fuel cell testing. A membrane modified on all edges shows a stable performance in H2/air fuel cell operation and an H2 crossover current density of 0.52mAcm-2, while a membrane modified only on two edges fails within 50h. Tensile and fuel cell tests show that the interface between modified and pristine area is not the preferred breaking point.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-183
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar 15


  • Crosslinking
  • Degradation
  • Desulfonation
  • Life time
  • Membrane modification
  • Polymer electrolyte fuel cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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