Proton exchange membranes for fuel cell applications are synthesized by surface-initiated(SI) atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). Poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-chlorotrifluoroethylene)is electrospun into 50 μm thick mat, which is then employed as multifunctionalinitiator for copper-mediated SI ATRP of 4-styrene sulfonic acid sodium salt. Fine-tuning ofthe ATRP conditions allows adjustment of the membrane’sion exchange capacity by varying the loading of the graftedionomer. Structure and composition of the membranes areinvestigated by spectroscopic means and thermogravimetricanalysis, respectively. The membrane morphology is probedby scanning electron microscopy. A membrane with protonconductivity as high as 100 mS cm−1 is obtained. Long-termdurability study in direct methanol fuel cells is conducted forover 1500 h demonstrating the viability of this novel facileapproach.
Javakhishvili, I., Dimitrov, I., Tynelius, O., Hales, J. H., Jankova Atanasova, K., & Hvilsted, S. (2017). Surface-Initiated Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization from Electrospun Mats: An Alternative to Nafion. Macromolecular Materials & Engineering, 302(4), . https://doi.org/10.1002/mame.201600410