Determination of Anion Transference Number and Phosphoric Acid Diffusion Coefficient in High Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Membranes

Hans Becker, Uwe Reimer, David Aili, Lars N. Cleemann, Jens Oluf Jensen, Werner Lehnert, Qingfeng Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The passage of an electrical current through phosphoric acid doped polymer membranes involves parasitic migration of the acid, which imposes a critical issue for long-term operation of the high temperature polymer electrolyte membranes fuel cell (HT-PEMFC). To elucidate the phenomenon, a three-layered membrane is constructed with embedded micro reference electrodes to measure phosphoric acid redistribution in a polybenzimidazole based membrane. Under a constant load, a concentration gradient develops due to the acid migration, which drives the back diffusion of the acid and eventually reaches a steady state between migration and diffusion. The acid gradient is measured as a difference in local ohmic resistances of the anode- and cathode-layer membranes by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The phosphoric acid diffusion coefficient through the acid doped membrane is about 10(-11) m(2) s(-1), at least one order of magnitude lower than that of aqueous phosphoric acid solutions. The anion (H2PO4-) transference number is found to range up to 4% depending on current density, temperature and atmospheric humidity of the cell, implying that careful control of the operating parameters is needed in order to suppress the vehicular proton conduction as a degradation mitigation strategy. (C) The Author(s) 2018. Published by ECS.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)F863-F869
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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