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25 February 2016 Enhancement of water retention in UV-exposed fuel-cell proton exchange membranes studied using terahertz spectroscopy
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Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells are increasingly gaining importance as a clean energy source. PEMs need to possess high proton conductivity and should be chemically and mechanically stable in the fuel cell environment. Proton conductivity of PEM in fuel cells is directly proportional to water content in the membrane. Among the various PEMs available, Nafion has high proton conductivity even with low water content compared to SPEEK (Sulfonated Poly(ether ether ketone)) but is also expensive. SPEEK membranes and it’s composites have better mechanical properties and have comparatively higher thermal stability. Operating the fuel cell at higher temperatures and at the same time maintaining the water content of the membrane is always a great challenge. In this paper, to increase water retention capacity, Nafion, SPEEK and it’s composite (SPEEK PSSA-CNT) membranes are exposed to Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation for varied times. Terahertz Spectroscopy, in both pulsed and CW mode has been used as an efficient tool to quantify the water retention of the membrane. Results using Terahertz spectroscopy show that even though the initial water absorption capacity of Nafion membranes is more, SPEEK membranes and it’s composites show considerable improvement in the water retention capacity upon high intensity UV irradiation.
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Shaumik Ray, Nirmala Devi, Jyotirmayee Dash, Gutru Rambabu, Santoshkumar D. Bhat, and Bala Pesala "Enhancement of water retention in UV-exposed fuel-cell proton exchange membranes studied using terahertz spectroscopy", Proc. SPIE 9747, Terahertz, RF, Millimeter, and Submillimeter-Wave Technology and Applications IX, 97470P (25 February 2016);

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