Experimental characterization of water sorption and transport properties of polymer electrolyte membranes for fuel cells

Abstract : The overall aim of this PhD thesis was to characterize the properties of commercial Nafion N115 and Nafion NRE212 membranes in term of water sorption, transport, and mechanical properties over a wide range of experimental conditions. Because of the high dispersion of the data in the literature, our primary objective was to gather a comprehensive set of experimental measurements and to compare them with published results. Simple and reproducible protocols allowed us to measure the membrane properties over a wide range of experimental conditions and to study the influence of certain parameters on their evolution. For example, the samples were heat-treated at different temperatures and the effect of thermal history on water sorption, transport and mechanical properties was investigated. Nafion membranes were also exposed to moderate temperature (60°C - 80°C) and constant relative humidity (RH = 0.3 to 0.95) for long periods of time, which is known to cause a so-called ?hygrothermal aging? resulting in a decrease in their sorption capacity and proton conductivity. Such effects were observed but they appeared to be reversible and without noticeable consequences in term of fuel cell performance. Our experimental results can be used in studies involving water transport, water management and durability of fuel cells, especially for numerical simulation or modelling. More fundamentally, they can help understanding the thermodynamics of sorption and transport phenomena in PFSA membranes
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Libeth Maldonado Sánchez. Experimental characterization of water sorption and transport properties of polymer electrolyte membranes for fuel cells. Chemical engineering. Université de Lorraine, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012LORR0146⟩. ⟨tel-02074195⟩

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