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High Temperature Polymers for use in Fuel CellsNASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) is currently working on polymers for fuel cell and lithium battery applications. The desire for more efficient, higher power density, and a lower environmental impact power sources has led to interest in proton exchanges membrane fuels cells (PEMFC) and lithium batteries. A PEMFC has many advantages as a power source. The fuel cell uses oxygen and hydrogen as reactants. The resulting products are electricity, heat, and water. The PEMFC consists of electrodes with a catalyst, and an electrolyte. The electrolyte is an ion-conducting polymer that transports protons from the anode to the cathode. Typically, a PEMFC is operated at a temperature of about 80 C. There is intense interest in developing a fuel cell membrane that can operate at higher temperatures in the range of 80 C- 120 C. Operating the he1 cell at higher temperatures increases the kinetics of the fuel cell reaction as well as decreasing the susceptibility of the catalyst to be poisoned by impurities. Currently, Nafion made by Dupont is the most widely used polymer membrane in PEMFC. Nafion does not function well above 80 C due to a significant decrease in the conductivity of the membrane from a loss of hydration. In addition to the loss of conductivity at high temperatures, the long term stability and relatively high cost of Nafion have stimulated many researches to find a substitute for Nafion. Lithium ion batteries are popular for use in portable electronic devices, such as laptop computers and mobile phones. The high power density of lithium batteries makes them ideal for the high power demand of today s advanced electronics. NASA is developing a solid polymer electrolyte that can be used for lithium batteries. Solid polymer electrolytes have many advantages over the current gel or liquid based systems that are used currently. Among these advantages are the potential for increased power density and design flexibility. Automobiles, computers, and cell phones require highly efficient power density for lowering emissions and meeting increasing consumer demands. Many of the solutions can be provided by proton exchange membrane fuel cells and lithium batteries. NASA Glenn Research Center has recognized this need, and is presently engaged in a solution. The goals for the summer include mastering synthesis techniques, understanding the reactions occurring during the synthesis, and characterizing the resulting polymer membranes using NMR, DSC, and TGA for the PEMFC and lithium batteries.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Peplowski, Katherine M.
(Ohio Northern Univ. Ada, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium I
Subject Category
Inorganic, Organic And Physical Chemistry
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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