Semi-interpenetrating network based on cross-linked poly(vinyl alcohol) and poly(styrene sulfonic acid-co-maleic anhydride) as proton exchange fuel cell membranes

C. W. Lin, Y. F. Huang, A. M. Kannan

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    66 Scopus citations


    A series of promising proton conducting membranes have been synthesized by using poly(vinyl alcohol), with sulfosuccinic acid (SSA) as a cross-linking agent and poly(styrene sulfonic acid-co-maleic acid) (PSSA-MA) as proton source, which form a semi-interpenetrating network (semi-IPN) PVA/SSA/PSSA-MA membrane. A bridge of SSA between PVA molecules not only reinforces the network but also provides extra proton conducting paths. PSSA-MA chains trapped in the network were the major sources of protons in the membrane. FT-IR spectra confirmed the success of the cross-linking reaction and molecular interactions between PVA and PSSA-MA. Associated characteristics of a proton conducting membrane including ion-exchange capacity (IEC), proton conductivity and water uptake were investigated. The measured IECs of the membranes increased with increase of PSSA-MA content varying from 20 to 80% and correlated well with the measured uptake water and proton conductivity. The semi-IPN membranes with PSSA-MA over 60% exhibited a higher proton conductivity than Nafion-115 and also a reasonable level of water uptake. Fuel cell performance of membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) was evaluated at various temperatures with H2/air as well as H2/O2 gases under ambient pressure. A power density of 0.7 W cm-2 was obtained for the MEA using PVA/SSA20/PSSA-MA80 membrane using H2/O2 at 50 °C.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)449-456
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Power Sources
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Feb 10 2007



    • Fuel cells
    • Membrane electrode assembly
    • Poly(styrene sulfonic acid-co-maleic acid)
    • Poly(vinyl alcohol)
    • Proton conducting membrane
    • Semi-interpenetrating network

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
    • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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