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An optimised synthesis of high performance radiation-grafted anion-exchange membranes

Wang, L, Magliocca, E, Cunningham, EL, Mustain, WE, Poynton, SD, Escudero-Cid, R, Nasef, MN, Ponce-Gonzalez, J, Bance-Souahli, R, Slade, RCT, Whelligan, DK and Varcoe, J (2016) An optimised synthesis of high performance radiation-grafted anion-exchange membranes Green Chemistry, 19. pp. 831-843.

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Abstract

High performance benzyltrimethylammonium-type alkaline anion-exchange membranes (AEM), for application in electrochemical devices such as anion-exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFC), were prepared by the radiation grafting (RG) of vinylbenzyl chloride (VBC) onto 25 μm thick poly(ethylene-co-tetrafluoroethylene) (ETFE) films followed by amination with trimethylamine. Reductions in electron-beam absorbed dose and amount of expensive, potentially hazardous VBC were achieved by using water as a diluent (reduced to 30 – 40 kGy absorbed dose and 5%vol VBC) instead of the prior-art method that used organic propan-2-ol diluent (required 70 kGy dose and 20%vol VBC monomer). Furthermore, the water from the aqueous grafting mixture was easily separated from residual monomer (after cooling) and was reused for a further grafting reaction: the resulting AEM exhibited an ion-exchange capacity of 2.1 mmol g-1 (cf. 2.1 mmol g-1 for the AEM made using fresh grafting mixture). The lower irradiation doses resulted in mechanically stronger RG-AEMs compared to the reference RG-AEM synthesised using the prior-art method. A further positive off-shoot of the optimisation process was the discovery that using water as a diluent resulted in an enhanced (i.e. more uniform) distribution of VBC grafts as proven by Raman microscopy and corroborated using EDX analysis: this led to enhancement in the Cl- anion-conductivities (up to 68 mS cm-1 at 80°C for the optimised fully hydrated RG-AEMs vs. 48 mS cm-1 for the prior-art RG-AEM reference). A down-selected RG-AEM of ion-exchange capacity = 2.0 mmol g-1, that was synthesised using the new greener protocol with 30 kGy electron-beam absorbed dose, led to an exceptional beginning-of-life H2/O2 AEMFC peak power density of 1.16 W cm−2 at 60°C in a benchmark test using industrial standard Pt-based electrocatalysts and unpressurised gas supplies: this was higher than the 0.91 W cm-1 obtained with the reference RG-AEM (IEC = 1.8 mmol g-1) synthesised using the prior-art protocol.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Chemistry
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Chemistry
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Wang, LUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Magliocca, EUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Cunningham, ELUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Mustain, WEUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Poynton, SDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Escudero-Cid, RUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Nasef, MNUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Ponce-Gonzalez, JUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Bance-Souahli, RUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Slade, RCTUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Whelligan, DKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Varcoe, JUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 23 November 2016
Funders : EPSRC
Identification Number : https://doi.org/10.1039/C6GC02526A
Copyright Disclaimer : CC - BY This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence.
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Nov 2016 13:15
Last Modified : 07 Feb 2017 10:38
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/812946

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