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Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells have the potential to reduce our energy consumption, pollutant emissions, and dependence on fossil fuels. To achieve a wide range of commercial PEMs, many efforts have been made to create novel polymer-based materials that can transport protons under anhydrous conditions. In this study, cross-linked poly(vinyl) alcohol (PVA)/poly(ethylene) glycol (PEG) membranes with varying alumina (Al2O3) content were synthesized using the solvent solution method. Wide-angle X-ray diffraction (XRD), water uptake, ion exchange capacity (IEC), and proton conductivity were then used to characterize the membranes. XRD results showed that the concentration of Al2O3 affected the degree of crystallinity of the membranes, with 0.7 wt.% Al2O3 providing the lowest crystallinity. Water uptake was discovered to be dependent not only on the Al2O3 group concentration (SSA content) but also on SSA, which influenced the hole volume size in the membranes. The ionic conductivity measurements provided that the samples were increased by SSA to a high value (0.13 S/m) at 0.7 wt.% Al2O3. Furthermore, the ionic conductivity of polymers devoid of SSA tended to increase as the Al2O3 concentration increased. The positron annihilation lifetimes revealed that as the Al2O3 concentration increased, the hole volume content of the polymer without SSA also increased. However, it was densified with SSA for the membrane. According to the findings of the study, PVA/PEG/SSA/0.7 wt.% Al2O3 might be employed as a PEM with high proton conductivity for fuel cell applications.


polymer electrolyte membrane, positron annihilation lifetime, hole volume, fuel cell, cross-linked PVA, Al2O3, proton conductivity, water uptake


PMID: 36235977



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