In the research of new nanocomposite proton-conducting membranes, SnO2 ceramic powders with surface functionalization have been synthesized and adopted as additives in Nafion-based polymer systems. Different synthetic routes have been explored to obtain suitable, nanometer-sized sulphated tin oxide particles. Structural and morphological characteristics, as well as surface and bulk properties of the obtained oxide powders, have been determined by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopies, N2 adsorption, and thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA). In addition, dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), atomic force microscopy (AFM), thermal investigations, water uptake (WU) measurements, and ionic exchange capacity (IEC) tests have been used as characterization tools for the nanocomposite membranes. The nature of the tin oxide precursor, as well as the synthesis procedure, were found to play an important role in determining the morphology and the particle size distribution of the ceramic powder, this affecting the effective functionalization of the oxides. The incorporation of such particles, having sulphate groups on their surface, altered some peculiar properties of the resulting composite membrane, such as water content, thermo-mechanical, and morphological characteristics.
Bibliographical note© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
- Functionalized metal oxides
- Nanocomposite polymer membranes
- Structural and spectroscopic characterizations
- Thermal and mechanical properties