Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Sub-Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Brian C Benicewicz

Abstract

Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells are one of the most promising alternative power devices available due to their multiple applications as well as their clean and efficient operation. PEM fuel cells that operate at high temperatures (> 120oC) have advantages over low temperature PEM fuel cell systems such as faster electrode kinetics, increased tolerance to gas impurities, simplified water management systems, and utilization of generated heat. One of the most promising candidates for high temperature PEM fuels cells is polybenzimidzoles (PBIs), which have excellent thermal stability and proton conductivity. Recently, a new process was developed to produce polybenzimidazole gel membranes for use in high temperature PEM fuel cell systems, which uses polyphosphoric acid (PPA) as both the polycondensation agent and the casting solvent. This one-pot process, called the 'PPA Process', allows for the synthesis of high molecular weight polymer membranes with high acid-loading levels and good mechanical properties.

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