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Issue 31, 2015
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Fabrication of hybrid membranes by incorporating acid–base pair functionalized hollow mesoporous silica for enhanced proton conductivity

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Abstract

Hollow mesoporous silica microspheres with a uniform pore size and a large surface area are synthesized and functionalized by three kinds of amino acids with different acid–base pairs, including sulfonic acid–amino groups (HMS-Cys), phosphoric acid–amino groups (HMS-Phos) and carboxylic acid–amino groups (HMS-Asp). The incorporation of these microspheres into a Nafion matrix enhances the water uptake and adjusts the organic–inorganic interface and hydrophilic ionic domains inside the membranes. Microspheres with a hollow mesoporous structure endow the membranes with strong water retention ability. The proton conductivities of hybrid membranes are more than 8 times higher than that of recast Nafion at 40 °C and 20% RH after 90 min of testing. The acid–base pairs within the membranes work as proton donors and acceptors, and the retained water molecules are used as hydrogen-bonded bridges, which reduce the energy barrier for proton conduction. At the filler content of 4 wt%, the HMS-Cys embedded membrane shows the highest proton conductivity of 1.19 × 10−1 S cm−1 (30 °C, 100% RH). In addition, hybrid membranes incorporated with amino acid functionalized HMS show small reliance on humidity. The proton conductivities of all the hybrid membranes are ∼5.29–11.1 times higher than that of the recast Nafion under 26.1% RH and 80 °C.

Graphical abstract: Fabrication of hybrid membranes by incorporating acid–base pair functionalized hollow mesoporous silica for enhanced proton conductivity

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
05 May 2015
Accepted
26 Jun 2015
First published
30 Jun 2015

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2015,3, 16079-16088
Article type
Paper

Fabrication of hybrid membranes by incorporating acid–base pair functionalized hollow mesoporous silica for enhanced proton conductivity

Y. Yin, W. Deng, H. Wang, A. Li, C. Wang, Z. Jiang and H. Wu, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2015, 3, 16079
DOI: 10.1039/C5TA03276H

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