Polymer membranes are prepared as a composite of polybenzimidazole and non-functionalized multiwall carbon nanotubes (PBI-CNT) and polybenzimidazole (PBI) only. Each is doped with H3PO4 (PA) and used as a proton exchange membrane (PEM) as the electrolyte in a fuel cell. The proton conductivities at 180 °C for the doped PBI membrane (PBIPA) and the doped PBI-CNT membrane (PBICNTPA) are 6.3 × 10-2 and 7.4 × 10-2 Scm-1 respectively. A single fuel cell having these membranes as electrolyte has a Pt catalyzed hydrogen gas fed anode and a similar oxygen cathode without humidification of feed gases; the cell with the PBICNTPA membrane has higher open circuit voltage (0.96 V) than that with a PBIPA membrane (0.8 V) at 180 °C. The mechanical stability of the membrane improves with CNTs addition. The tensile strength of the composite PBI-CNT membrane with 1 wt.% CNTs loading is 32% higher and the Young's Modulus is 147% higher than the values for a membrane of PBI alone. The improvement in conductivity and mechanical properties in the composite membrane due to the CNT addition indicates that a PBI-CNT membrane is a good alternative as a membrane electrolyte in a PEMFC.
- Carbon nanotubes
- Fuel cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry