Mechanisms of proton conductance in polymer electrolyte membranes

M. Eikerling, A. A. Kornyshev, A. M. Kuznetsov, Jens Ulstrup, S. Walbrand

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We provide a phenomenological description of proton conductance in polymer electrolyte membranes, based on contemporary views of proton transfer processes in condensed media and a model for heterogeneous polymer electrolyte membrane structure. The description combines the proton transfer events in a single pore with the total pore-network performance and, thereby, relates structural and kinetic characteristics of the membrane. The theory addresses specific experimentally studied issues such as the effect of the density of proton localization sites (equivalent weight) of the membrane material and the water content of the pores. The effect of the average distance between the sulfonate groups, which changes during membrane swelling, is analyzed in particular, and the factors which determine the temperature dependence of the macroscopic membrane conductance are disclosed. Numerical estimates of the specific membrane conductivity obtained from the theory agree very well with typical experimental data, thereby confirming the appropriateness of the theoretical concepts. Moreover, the versatility of the models offers a useful and transparent frame for combining the analysis of both experimental data and the results of molecular dynamics simulations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of physical chemistry b
Volume105
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)3646-3662
ISSN1520-6106
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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