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Energies 2019, 12(3), 549; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12030549

Effect of Dispersion Solvents in Catalyst Inks on the Performance and Durability of Catalyst Layers in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

Department of Green Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, Sangmyung University, C-411 Main Building, 31 Sangmyungdae-gil, Dongnam-gu, Cheonan 31066, Korea
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Received: 24 January 2019 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 8 February 2019 / Published: 11 February 2019
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Abstract

Five different ionomer dispersions using water–isopropanol (IPA) and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) were investigated as ionomer binders for catalyst layers in proton exchange membrane fuel cells. The distribution of ionomer plays an important role in the design of high-performance porous electrode catalyst layers since the transport of species, such as oxygen and protons, is controlled by the thickness of the ionomer on the catalyst surface and the continuity of the ionomer and gas networks in the catalyst layer, with the transport of electrons being related to the continuity of the carbon particle network. In this study, the effect of solvents in ionomer dispersions on the performance and durability of catalyst layers (CLs) is investigated. Five different types of catalyst inks were used: (i) ionomer dispersed in NMP; (ii) ionomer dispersed in water–IPA; (iii) ionomer dispersed in NMP, followed by adding water–IPA; (iv) ionomer dispersed in water–IPA, followed by adding NMP; and (v) a mixture of ionomer dispersed in NMP and ionomer dispersed in water–IPA. Dynamic light scattering of the five dispersions showed different average particles sizes: ~0.40 μm for NMP, 0.91–1.75 μm for the mixture, and ~2.02 μm for water–IPA. The membrane-electrode assembly prepared from an ionomer dispersion with a larger particle size (i.e., water–IPA) showed better performance, while that prepared from a dispersion with a smaller particle size (i.e., NMP) showed better durability. View Full-Text
Keywords: catalyst layer; ionomer dispersion; durability; proton exchange membrane fuel cell catalyst layer; ionomer dispersion; durability; proton exchange membrane fuel cell
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Song, C.-H.; Park, J.-S. Effect of Dispersion Solvents in Catalyst Inks on the Performance and Durability of Catalyst Layers in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells. Energies 2019, 12, 549.

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