Solid State Electrolyte Membranes:
Fundamental Studies on Mass Transport
Our efforts in this arena include investigations on both proton and newly emerging anion exchange membranes.
A. These studies include macroscopic measurements of transport involving ions (H+, OH- , and solute O¬2) in these systems using simulated fuel cell operating conditions in conjunction with AC impedance and transient methods such as chronoamperometry. These are bolstered by our new efforts using spin labeled ESR measurements where a more molecular level understanding of transport is gleaned. Our current efforts involve invoking this macro-micro combination of analytical approaches to arrive at a holistic model of transport in the emerging field of anion exchange membranes. This effort is tied in with our strong collaborations in this arena with membrane synthesis effort at Georgia Institute of Technology (Professor Paul Kohl) and Virginia Poltechnic and State University (Virginia Tech., Professor Christopher Cornelius) along with Dupont.
B. In addition to fundamental studies of mass transport in polymer electrolytes we also investigate degradation mechanisms using a unique combination of fuel cell simulation in segmented cells and vibrational spectroscopy (FTIR and Raman). These studies include measurement of polymer chain scission as a function of various fuel cell operating conditions as well as postulation of mechanisms involved. Our newly developed in situ ESR cell in conjunction with our recently acquired ESR (Brucker) instrument is providing a quantum leap in this area.