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Stereochemistry-Dependent Proton Conduction in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells



Stereochemistry-Dependent Proton Conduction in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells



Langmuir 32(1): 359-365



Graphene oxide (GO) is impermeable to H2 and O2 fuels while permitting H(+) shuttling, making it a potential candidate for proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC), albeit with a large anisotropy in their proton transport having a dominant in plane (σIP) contribution over the through plane (σTP). If GO-based membranes are ever to succeed in PEMFC, it inevitably should have a dominant through-plane proton shuttling capability (σTP), as it is the direction in which proton gets transported in a real fuel-cell configuration. Here we show that anisotropy in proton conduction in GO-based fuel cell membranes can be brought down by selectively tuning the geometric arrangement of functional groups around the dopant molecules. The results show that cis isomer causes a selective amplification of through-plane proton transport, σTP, pointing to a very strong geometry angle in ionic conduction. Intercalation of cis isomer causes significant expansion of GO (001) planes involved in σTP transport due to their mutual H-bonding interaction and efficient bridging of individual GO planes, bringing down the activation energy required for σTP, suggesting the dominance of a Grotthuss-type mechanism. This isomer-governed amplification of through-plane proton shuttling resulted in the overall boosting of fuel-cell performance, and it underlines that geometrical factors should be given prime consideration while selecting dopant molecules for bringing down the anisotropy in proton conduction and enhancing the fuel-cell performance in GO-based PEMFC.

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Accession: 058903744

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 26652316

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.5b03984


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