Raman investigation of degradation and ageing effects in fuel cell membranes
Journal article, 2009
Increased life-time of the proton conducting membrane of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells is the key to improve the endurance of fuel cell stacks. Here we present a Raman spectroscopy investigation of a fully fluorinated sulfonated membrane from a 1500h FC steady-state experiment compared with Nafion® membranes aged in hydrogen peroxide and Fenton's solution. The latter approach as an attempt to develop a screening method based on accelerated ageing. In all membranes degradation is evident. The Raman results of the fuel cell tested membrane demonstrate a loss of functional sulfonic acid groups throughout the membrane. The accelerated ageing, on the other hand, results in degradation readily observed: e.g. loss of polymer material, opaque areas, and brittleness. Notably, the relative concentration of functional sulfonic groups stays constant, indicating that the accelerated ageing methods primarily attack the backbone of the membrane. ©The Electrochemical Society.