Fabrication of proton exchange membrane for non-humidified fuel cells based on polyimide Matrimid® and hydrophobic protic ionic liquid
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polyimide, protic ionic liquid, proton exchange membrane, cross-linking, ionic conductivity

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Rogalsky, S. P., Tarasyuk, O. P., Cherniavska, T. V., Babkina, N. V., Dzhuzha, O. V., Shybyryn, O. V., & Makhno, S. M. (2023). Fabrication of proton exchange membrane for non-humidified fuel cells based on polyimide Matrimid® and hydrophobic protic ionic liquid. Catalysis and Petrochemistry, (34), 112-121. https://doi.org/10.15407/kataliz2023.34.112


New proton exchange membrane based on polyimide Matrimid® (PI) and hydrophobic protic ionic liquid, 1-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide (MIM-TFSI), has been prepared by casting from methylene chloride/dimethylformamide solution. Infrared analysis revealed physicochemical interactions between 1-methylimidazolium cations and imide groups of PI. The results of mechanical testing indicate significantly reduced tensile strength of PI/MIM-TFSI composite membrane compared to neat polymer. Moreover, the dynamical mechanical analysis results revealed sharp drop in storage modulus () of the polymer film above 60 °C.

To improve the elastic properties of the membrane, PI was successively cross-linked with polyetheramine Jeffamine® D-2000 (10 mol. %) in methylene chloride/dimethylformamide solution, as well as in solid film at 100 °C. This approach allowed to prepare PI/Jeffamine/MIM-TFSI (70 wt. %) composite film which has an acceptable E' value of 210 MPa at 140 °C. According to thermal gravimetric analysis data, PI/Jeffamine/MIM-TFSI composite has a thermal degradation point (i.e. 5 % weight loss) of 286 °C. The ionic conductivity of PI/Jeffamine/MIM-TFSI composite membrane is around 104 S/cm at room temperature and reaches the minimal level of 103 S/cm, required for fuel cell applications, above 100 °C. Overall, the results of this study indicate that the cross-linking of polyimide Matrimid with flexible polyetheramine Jeffamine is an efficient approach for preparing dense composite membrane with high content of the protic ionic liquid. Such polymer-electrolyte membrane has the reasonable combination of good stiffness, thermal stability, and ionic conductivity and therefore is a promising candidate for use in fuel cells operating at elevated temperatures in water-free conditions.

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