Polymer electrolyte membranes prepared by graft copolymerization of 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid and acrylic acid on PVDF and ETFE activated by electron beam treatment
Polymer electrolyte membranes (PEM) for potential applications in fuel cells or vanadium redox flow batteries were synthesized and characterized. ETFE (poly (ethylene-alttetrafluoroethylene)) and PVDF (poly (vinylidene fluoride)) serving as base materials were activated by electron beam treatment with doses ranging from 50 to 200 kGy and subsequently grafted via radical copolymerization with the functional monomers 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid and acrylic acid in aqueous phase. Since protogenic groups are already contained in the monomers, a subsequent sulfonation step is omitted. The mechanical properties were studied via tensile strength measurements. The electrochemical performance of the PEMs was evaluated by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and fuel cell tests. The proton conductivities and ion exchange capacities are competitive with Nafion 117, the standard material used today.