Nafion® is the most used polymer in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC) that work in the temperature range of 80-130 ºC. The PEMFC efficiency is controlled by a Nafion’s thermal transition, labeled α (Tα ~ 110 ºC). Above the α-transition, irreversible modifications of the Nafion chemical interactions is responsible for a dramatic degradation of Nafion proton conductivity that can lead to the fuel cell collapse. Such transition has been rarely studied by infrared spectroscopy (IR). The IR would allow understanding the specific interactions among Nafion’s functional groups underlying α-transition. Thus, this investigation would help boosting PEMFC technology as well as advancing the development high-performance polymer materials.
HZB summer student
Universidade de São Paulo