Benzimidazole grafted polybenzimidazoles for proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Jingshuai Yang, David Aili, Qingfeng Li, Yixin Xu, Peipei Liu, Quantong Che, Jens Oluf Jensen, Niels J. Bjerrum, Ronghuan He

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


High molecular weight polybenzimidazole (PBI) was synthesized and grafted with benzimidazole pendant groups. The high molecular weight of PBI resulted in good film-forming properties and superior tensile strength. With a phosphoric acid doping level (ADL) of 13.1, a tensile strength of 16 MPa was achieved at room temperature. Grafting of benzimidazole moieties onto the PBI macromolecular chain introduced additional basic sites which allowed the membrane to achieve higher phosphoric acid uptakes. A molar acid conductivity, defined as the specific conductivity of each mole of doping acid, was proposed to evaluate the effective conductivity contributed from the doping acids. With a grafting degree of 5.3% and an ADL of 13.1, the PBI membranes exhibited a total conductivity of 0.15 S cm-1. A H2-air fuel cell based on this membrane showed a peak power density of 378 mW cm-2 at 180 °C without humidification. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolymer Chemistry
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)4768-4775
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Molecular weight
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)
  • Semiconductor doping
  • Tensile strength
  • Grafting (chemical)

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