Characterization and application of composite membranes in DMFC

V. S. Silva, B. Ruffmann, S. Vetter, A. Mendes*, L. M. Madeira, S. P. Nunes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


The present work focuses on the characterization of membranes for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC), prepared using composites of sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone) (sPEEK, with sulfonation degree, SD, of 42 and 68%) as polymer matrix. This polymer was inorganically modified incorporating different amounts of zirconium phosphate (ZrPh) pretreated with n-propylamine and polybenzimidazole (PBI). The investigated properties were: proton conductivity, water and aqueous methanol swelling, permeability coefficients for DMFC species and morphology. DMFC tests were performed at 110 °C with relative humidity (r.h.) in the cathode feed of 100 and 138%. The results obtained show that the inorganic modification of the polymer decreases the proton conductivity, water and aqueous methanol swelling and permeability towards DMFC species. In terms of morphology, it was found that the applied procedure enabled the preparation of membranes with good compatibility between inorganic and organic components. In terms of the DMFC tests of the composite membranes, working with the cathode feed at 100% r.h., the unmodified sPEEK membrane with SD = 42% proved to have the best performance, although with higher methanol crossover. In contrast, for r.h. of 138%, the best performance was achieved by the sPEEK composite membrane with SD = 68 and 20.0 wt.% of ZrPh and 11.2 wt.% of PBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
JournalCatalysis Today
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - Jun 30 2005
Externally publishedYes
EventCatalysis in Membrane Reactors -
Duration: Jul 6 2004Jul 9 2004


  • Conductivity
  • Direct methanol fuel cell
  • Pervaporation
  • Pressure rise method
  • Sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone) (sPEEK)
  • Swelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization and application of composite membranes in DMFC'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this