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Ionic Liquids and Green Reaction/Separation Engine

Enhanced proton transport in nanostructured polymer electrolyte/ionic liquid ..


Proton exchange fuel cells (PEFCs) have the potential to provide power for a variety of applications ranging from electronic devices to transportation vehicles. A major challenge towards economically viable PEFCs is finding an electrolyte that is both durable and easily passes protons. In this article, we study novel anhydrous proton-conducting membranes, formed by incorporating ionic liquids into synthetic block co-polymer electrolytes, poly(styrenesulphonate-b-methylbutylene) (SnMBm), as high-temperature PEFCs. The resulting membranes are transparent, flexible and thermally stable up to 180 °C. The increases in the sulphonation level of SnMBm co-polymers (proton supplier) and the concentration of the ionic liquid (proton mediator) produce an overall increase in conductivity. Morphology effects were studied by X-ray scattering and electron microscopy. Compared with membranes having discrete ionic domains (including Nafion 117), the nanostructured membranes revealed over an order of magnitude increase in conductivity with the highest conductivity of 0.045 S cm−1 obtained at 165 °C.
Molecular structures and proposed proton hopping mechanism.
Nature Communications
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