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Energies 2014, 7(3), 1721-1732; doi:10.3390/en7031721

Preparation of Polybenzimidazole-Based Membranes and Their Potential Applications in the Fuel Cell System

1
Department of Chemical System Engineering, Keimyung University, Daegu 704-701, Korea
2
Department of Chemistry, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790, USA
3
Department of Energy Engineering, Keimyung University, Daegu 704-701, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 November 2013 / Revised: 24 February 2014 / Accepted: 5 March 2014 / Published: 24 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells)
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Abstract

Various polybenzimidazole (PBI)-based ion-exchange films were prepared and thoroughly characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, proton conductivity, and water uptake for possible use as fuel cell membranes. Upon the increase in the flexibility of the PBI-based polymer films (e.g., poly(oxyphenylene benzimidazole) (OPBI) and sulfonated OPBI (s-OPBI)), the membranes exhibited slightly improved proton conductivity, but significantly increased dimensional changes. To reduce the dimensional changes (i.e., increase the stability), the cross-linking of the polymer films (e.g., cross-linked OPBI (c-OPBI) and sulfonated c-OPBI (sc-OPBI)) was accomplished using phosphoric acid. Interestingly, the sc-OPBI membrane possessed a greatly increased proton conductivity (0.082 S/cm), which is comparable to that of the commercially available Nafion membrane (0.09 S/cm), while still maintaining slightly better properties regarding the dimensional change and water uptake than those of the Nafion membrane.
Keywords: polybenzimidazole (PBI); flexible PBI; cross-linked PBI; proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) polybenzimidazole (PBI); flexible PBI; cross-linked PBI; proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Hwang, K.; Kim, J.-H.; Kim, S.-Y.; Byun, H. Preparation of Polybenzimidazole-Based Membranes and Their Potential Applications in the Fuel Cell System. Energies 2014, 7, 1721-1732.

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