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Open AccessArticle

Study of Annealed Aquivion® Ionomers with the INCA Method

1
Institut Català d’investigaciò Química (ICIQ), Av. Països Catalans 16, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
2
University of Rome Tor Vergata, Department of Industrial Engineering and International Associated Laboratory: Ionomer Materials for Energy, Via del Politecnico 1, 00133 Roma, Italy
3
Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, Madirel (UMR 7246), Electrochemistry of Materials Group and International Associated Laboratory: Ionomer Materials for Energy, Campus St Jérôme, 13013 Marseille, France
4
Université de Toulon, MAPIEM (EA 4323), CS 60584, 83041 Toulon CEDEX 9, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
In memoriam Prof. Giulio Alberti.
Membranes 2019, 9(10), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes9100134
Received: 31 July 2019 / Revised: 10 October 2019 / Accepted: 14 October 2019 / Published: 17 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ionic Conductive Membranes for Fuel Cells)
We investigated the possibility to increase the working temperature and endurance of proton exchange membranes for fuel cells and water electrolyzers by thermal annealing of short side chain perfluorosulfonic acid (SSC-PFSA) Aquivion® membranes. The Ionomer nc Analysis (INCA method), based on nc/T plots where nc is a counter elastic force index, was applied to SSC-PFSA in order to evaluate ionomer thermo-mechanical properties and to probe the increase of crystallinity during the annealing procedure. The enhanced thermal and mechanical stability of extruded Aquivion® 870 (equivalent weight, EW = 870 g·mol−1) was related to an increase of long-range order. Complementary differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) measurements confirmed the increase of polymer stiffness by the annealing treatment with an enhancement of the storage modulus over the whole range of temperature. The main thermomechanical relaxation temperature is also enhanced. DSC measurements showed slight base line changes after annealing, attributable to the glass transition and melting of a small amount of crystalline phase. The difference between the glass transition and melting temperatures derived from INCA plots and the ionic-cluster transition temperature derived from DMA measurements is consistent with the different experimental conditions, especially the dry atmosphere in DMA. Finally, the annealing procedure was also successfully applied for the first time to an un-crystallized cast membrane (EW = 830 g·mol−1) resulting in a remarkable mechanical and thermal stabilization. View Full-Text
Keywords: proton exchange membranes; PEMFC; PFSA annealing; hydration; nc index proton exchange membranes; PEMFC; PFSA annealing; hydration; nc index
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MDPI and ACS Style

Giancola, S.; Arciniegas, R.A.B.; Fahs, A.; Chailan, J.-F.; Di Vona, M.L.; Knauth, P.; Narducci, R. Study of Annealed Aquivion® Ionomers with the INCA Method . Membranes 2019, 9, 134.

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