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Issue 9, 2012
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Anion-exchange membranes for alkaline polymer electrolyte fuel cells: comparison of pendent benzyltrimethylammonium- and benzylmethylimidazolium-head-groups

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Abstract

Radiation-grafted alkaline anion-exchange membranes (AAEM) containing pendent groups with either benzyltrimethylammonium (BTM) or benzylmethylimidazolium (BMI) functionality were successfully synthesised from the same base membrane and with identical ion-exchange capacities. The conductivity of the new BMI-AAEM is comparable to the BTM-benchmark AAEM. The fuel cell performance obtained with the BMI-AAEM was, however, significantly poorer due to in situ AAEM degradation. FT-Raman spectroscopic studies on the stability of the two head-groups at 60 °C in aqueous potassium hydroxide (1 mol dm−3) indicates that the BMI-group is intrinsically less chemically stable in strongly alkaline conditions compared to the BTM-benchmark head-group. However, the stabilities of both head-groups are improved when treated at 60 °C in lower pH aqueous carbonate and bicarbonate solutions (1 mol dm−3). Contrary to a portion of the prior literature, there appears to be no real advantage in using anion-exchange polymer electrolytes containing pendent imidazolium groups in highly alkaline systems.

Graphical abstract: Anion-exchange membranes for alkaline polymer electrolyte fuel cells: comparison of pendent benzyltrimethylammonium- and benzylmethylimidazolium-head-groups

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
06 Jun 2012
Accepted
05 Jul 2012
First published
06 Jul 2012

This article is Open Access

Energy Environ. Sci., 2012,5, 8584-8597
Article type
Paper

Anion-exchange membranes for alkaline polymer electrolyte fuel cells: comparison of pendent benzyltrimethylammonium- and benzylmethylimidazolium-head-groups

O. I. Deavin, S. Murphy, A. L. Ong, S. D. Poynton, R. Zeng, H. Herman and J. R. Varcoe, Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 8584
DOI: 10.1039/C2EE22466F

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