Effect of the Molecular Weight of Poly(vinyl alcohol) Blended with Sulfonated Polysulfone Membranes for Fuel Cell Applications

  • Chang, Sung-Hyuk (Department of Chemical Engineering, Hannam University) ;
  • Chung, Sung-Il (Department of Chemical Engineering, Hannam University) ;
  • Rhim, Ji-Won (Department of Chemical Engineering, Hannam University)
  • Published : 2003.12.01

Abstract

In order to improve the mechanical properties of the sulfonated polysulfone (SPSf) membranes previously synthesized in our laboratory, poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) was blended which is well known as the excellent physical and chemical properties. The resulting membranes blended with several molecular weight of PVA varying from 13,000 to 124,000 have been characterized to investigate the effect of PVA molecular weight in terms of ion conductivities, methanol permeabilities, water contents and ion exchange capacities for both heat treated and untreated membranes at 150$^{\circ}C$. The proton conductivity is decreased as the molecular weight of PVA increases. The plain SPSf-6.0 showed the proton conductivity of 0.078 S/cm whereas the blended membrane with M.W. 31,000 PVA indicated 0.04 S/cm. For methanol permeabilities, when PVA is added to SPAf-6.0, methanol crossover is increased because of the gain of the hydrophilicity from 3.4 to 6.5${\times}$10$\^$-6/ $\textrm{cm}^2$/s. For the annealed blended membranes (with M.W. 31,000 PVA), both the methanol corssover and proton conductivity showed very consistent values, about 2.3${\times}$10$\^$-6/ $\textrm{cm}^2$/s and 0.036 S/cm, respectively.

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