The investigated membranes are based on 35 μ m thick commercial poly(ethylene-alt-tetrafluoroethylene) (ETFE) films. The films were made proton conductive by means of irradiation treatment followed by sulfonation. These membranes have exceptionally low water uptake and excellent dimensional stability. The new membranes are investigated widely in a laboratory-scale direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC). The temperature range used in the fuel cell tests was 30-85 ° C and the measurement results were compared to those of the Nafion®115 membrane. Also methanol permeability through the ETFE-based membrane was measured as a function of temperature, resulting in values less than 10% of the corresponding values for Nafion®115, which was considerably thicker than the experimental membrane. Methanol crossover was reported to decrease when the thickness of the membrane increases, so the ETFE-based membrane compares favourably to Nafion® membranes. The maximum power densities achieved with the experimental ETFE-based membrane were about 40-65% lower than the corresponding values of the Nafion®115 membrane, because of the lower conductivity and noticeably higher IR-losses. Chemical and mechanical stability of the ETFE-based membrane appeared to be promising since it was tested over 2000 h in the DMFC without any performance loss.
- Direct methanol fuel cell
- Liquid uptake
- Methanol crossover
- Poly(ethylene-alt-tetrafluoroethylene) (ETFE)
- Water drag coefficient