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Effect of Confinement on Structure, Water Solubility and Water Transport in Nafion Thin Films



Kirt A. Page, Scott Eastman, Shuhui Kang, Christopher L. Soles, Brandon W. Rowe


Fuel cells based on polymer electrolyte membranes (PEM) show promise as a means of energy conversion for a wide range of applications both in the transportation sector and for stationary power production due to their high charge density and low operating temperatures. While the structure and transport of bulk PEMs for fuel cell applications have been studied extensively, there has been little effort focused on these materials at interfaces and under confinement as they exist within the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) of a working PEM fuel cell. Using a combination of x-ray reflectivity, grazing-incidence small-angle x-ray scattering (GISAXS), quartz crystal microbalance (QCM), as well as polarization-modulation infrared reflection-absorption spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS) we have studied the structure, swelling, water solubility and water transport behaviour as a function of relativity humidity for the polyelectrolyte confined to thin films (


polyelectrolytes, fuel cells, Nafion


Page, K. , Eastman, S. , Kang, S. , Soles, C. and Rowe, B. (2012), Effect of Confinement on Structure, Water Solubility and Water Transport in Nafion Thin Films, Macromolecules, [online], (Accessed April 13, 2024)
Created September 19, 2012, Updated November 10, 2018