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Title: Cellulose nanocrystal-based composite electrolyte with superior dimensional stability for alkaline fuel cell membranes

Cellulose nanocrystal (CNC)-based composite films were prepared as a solid electrolyte for alkaline fuel cells. Poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and silica gel hybrid was used to bind the CNCs to form a robust composite film. The mass ratio (i.e., 1 : 1, 1 : 2) of PVA and silica gel was tuned to control the hydrophobicity of the resulting films. Composite films with a range of CNC content (i.e., 20 to 60%) were prepared to demonstrate the impact of CNC on the performance of these materials as a solid electrolyte for alkaline fuel cells. Different from previously reported cross-linked polymer films, CNC-based composite films with 40% hydrophobic binder (i.e., PVA : silica gel=1 : 2) exhibited simultaneous low water swelling (e.g., ~5%) and high water uptake (e.g., ~80%) due to the hydrophilicity and extraordinary dimensional stability of CNC. It also showed a conductivity of 0.044 and 0.065 S/cm at 20 and 60 oC, respectively. To the best of our knowledge, the film with 60% CNC and 40% binder is characterized by the lowest hydroxide conductivity-normalized swelling ratio. Decreased CNC content (i.e., 40 and 20%) resulted in comparable hydroxide conductivity but a greater swelling ratio. These results demonstrate the advantage ofmore » CNC as a key component for a solid electrolyte for alkaline fuel cells over conventional polymers, suggesting the great potential of CNCs in improving the dimensional stability while maintaining the conductivity of existing anion exchange membranes.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1215579
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Materials Chemistry. A
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 25; Journal ID: ISSN 2050-7488
Publisher:
Royal Society of Chemistry
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY