Fabrication and Characterization of Low-Cost Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) Composite Membrane for Low Temperature Fuel Cell Application
The urge to find alternative sources of energy is crucial as the source of fossil fuel shows a high number of depletion over the year. Compared to other alternatives sources, fuel cell is high at rank as it generates no harmful gases to the surrounding and high in efficiency. The performance of this fuel cell is affected by several factors and one of it is the permeability of proton exchange membrane (PEM). NafionÂ® is known to be used as the PEM in fuel cells, however due to its high price, polyvinyl alcohol membrane was selected in this study to substitute the NafionÂ® as it was low in price and excellent in chemical and mechanical strength. Poly (vinyl alcohol) composite membrane was prepared and crosslinked with sulfosuccinic acid (SSA). To further increase the proton conductivity of the membrane, graphene oxide (GO) with 1, 2 and 3 weight percentage was incorporated into the polymer membrane. All the membranes were characterized by using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), water uptake measurement, contact angle, ion exchange capacity and proton conductivity respectively. Synthesized membranes show low water uptake and contact angle as GO loading was increased. IEC value and water swelling were found to be increased with increasing of GO loading. The proton conductivity of the membrane increases as more GO was incorporated into PVA-SSA and achieved its highest conductivity at 0.020746 S cm-1 with 2 wt. % of GO incorporation.
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