Chemistry Times
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  About |  Newsletter |  Submit News |  Links |  Subscribe to ChemistryTimes.com RSS Feed Subscribe


More Articles
Piezotronics and piezo-phototronics leading to unprecedented active electronics and optoelectronicsPiezotronics and piezo-phototronics leading to unprecedented active electronics and optoelectronics

Cosmic slurpCosmic slurp

How kids' brain structures grow as memory developsHow kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of yearsImpact glass stores biodata for millions of years

Mantis shrimp stronger than airplanesMantis shrimp stronger than airplanes

Lemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voiceLemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voice

Nanocrystalline cellulose modified into an efficient viral inhibitorNanocrystalline cellulose modified into an efficient viral inhibitor

The malaria pathogen's cellular skeleton under a super-microscopeThe malaria pathogen's cellular skeleton under a super-microscope

Chickens to chili peppersChickens to chili peppers

The story of animal domestication retoldThe story of animal domestication retold

Diffeomorphometry and geodesic positioning systems for human anatomyDiffeomorphometry and geodesic positioning systems for human anatomy

Scientists grow cartilage to reconstruct noseScientists grow cartilage to reconstruct nose

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequencedDeadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Simplicity is key to co-operative robotsSimplicity is key to co-operative robots

Appearance of night-shining clouds has increasedAppearance of night-shining clouds has increased

Sperm meets egg: Protein essential for fertilization discoveredSperm meets egg: Protein essential for fertilization discovered

Satellite shows high productivity from US corn beltSatellite shows high productivity from US corn belt

The surprising consequences of banning chocolate milkThe surprising consequences of banning chocolate milk

Babies prefer fairness -- but only if it benefits them -- in choosing a playmateBabies prefer fairness -- but only if it benefits them -- in choosing a playmate

A new twist makes for better steel, researchers findA new twist makes for better steel, researchers find

Renewable energy market share climbs despite 2013 dip in investmentsRenewable energy market share climbs despite 2013 dip in investments

Study finds gaming augments players' social livesStudy finds gaming augments players' social lives

A breakthrough in creating invisibility cloaks, stealth technologyA breakthrough in creating invisibility cloaks, stealth technology

Overcoming structural uncertainty in computer modelsOvercoming structural uncertainty in computer models

Monkey caloric restriction study shows big benefit; contradicts earlier studyMonkey caloric restriction study shows big benefit; contradicts earlier study

Researchers developed world's first fluorescent sensor to detect date rape drugResearchers developed world's first fluorescent sensor to detect date rape drug

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Turning back the clock on aging muscles?Turning back the clock on aging muscles?

New study finds differences in concussion risk between football helmetsNew study finds differences in concussion risk between football helmets

Synthetic polymers enable cheap, efficient, durable alkaline fuel cells (8/23/2013)

Tags:
batteries, catalysts, cells, conductivity, fuel, fuel cells, life, materials, membranes, platinum, polymer, polymers, research, testing
This is an example membrane -- a cost-efficient and durable alternative for fuel cells consisting of two electrodes with a clear membrane sandwiched between them. -  Patrick Mansell
This is an example membrane -- a cost-efficient and durable alternative for fuel cells consisting of two electrodes with a clear membrane sandwiched between them. - Patrick Mansell

A new cost-effective polymer membrane can decrease the cost of alkaline batteries and fuel cells by allowing the replacement of expensive platinum catalysts without sacrificing important aspects of performance, according to Penn State researchers.

"We have tried to break this paradigm of tradeoffs in materials (by improving) both the stability and the conductivity of this membrane at the same time, and that is what we were able to do with this unique polymeric materials design," said Michael Hickner, associate professor of materials science and engineering.

In solid-state alkaline fuel cells, anion exchange membranes conduct negative charges between the device's cathode and anode -- the negative and positive connections of the cell -- to create useable electric power. Most fuel cells currently use membranes that require platinum-based catalysts that are effective but expensive.

Hickner's new polymer is a unique anion exchange membrane -- a new type of fuel cell and battery membrane -- that allows the use of much more cost-efficient non-precious metal catalysts and does not compromise either durability or efficiency like previous anion exchange membranes.

"What we're really doing here is providing alternatives, possible choices, new technology so that people who want to commercialize fuel cells can now choose between the old paradigm and new possibilities with anion exchange membranes," Hickner said.

Creating this alternative took some intuition and good fortune. In work spearheaded by Nanwen Li, a postdoctoral researcher in materials science and engineering, Hickner's team created several variations of the membrane, each with slightly different chemical compositions. They then ran each variation under simulated conditions to predict which would be optimal in an actual fuel cell. The researchers published their results in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society

Based on these initial tests, the group predicted that the membranes with long 16-carbon structures in their chemical makeup would provide the best efficiency and durability, as measured respectively by conductivity and long-term stability.

Chao-Yang Wang, William E. Diefenderfer Chair of Mechanical Engineering, and his team then tested each possibility in an operating fuel cell device. Yongjun Leng, a research associate in mechanical and nuclear engineering, measured the fuel cell's output and lifetime for each material variation.

Despite predictions, the membranes containing shorter 6-carbon structures proved to be much more durable and efficient after 60 hours of continuous operation.

"We were somewhat surprised?that what we thought was the best material in our lab testing wasn't necessarily the best material in the cell when it was evaluated over time," said Hickner, who added that researchers are still trying to understand why the 6-carbon variation has better long-term durability than the 16-carbon sample in the fuel cell by studying the operating conditions of the cell in detail.

Because the successful membrane was so much more effective than the initial lab studies predicted, researchers are now interested in accounting for the interactions that the membranes experienced while inside the cell.

"We have the fuel cell output -- so we have the fuel cell efficiency, the fuel cell life time -- but we don't have the molecular scale information in the fuel cell," Hickner said. "That's the next step, trying to figure out how these polymers are working in the fuel cell on a detailed level.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the Penn State

Post Comments:

Search
New Articles
Surprising material could play role in saving energy

Repeated self-healing now possible in composite materialsRepeated self-healing now possible in composite materials

Engineers develop new materials for hydrogen storageEngineers develop new materials for hydrogen storage

Biomedical applications of shape-memory polymers: How practically useful are they?Biomedical applications of shape-memory polymers: How practically useful are they?

New self-healing plastics developed

Sunlight generates hydrogen in new porous siliconSunlight generates hydrogen in new porous silicon

Scientists discover a novel way to make ethanol without corn or other plantsScientists discover a novel way to make ethanol without corn or other plants

Trees go high-tech: Process turns cellulose into energy storage devicesTrees go high-tech: Process turns cellulose into energy storage devices

Organic solar cells more efficient with molecules face-to-faceOrganic solar cells more efficient with molecules face-to-face

Chemists' work with small peptide chains may revolutionize study of enzymes and diseasesChemists' work with small peptide chains may revolutionize study of enzymes and diseases

Researchers open path to finding rare, polarized metalsResearchers open path to finding rare, polarized metals

Tiny crystals to boost solarTiny crystals to boost solar

Strain can alter materials' properties

Europium complexes emit red light at record efficiencyEuropium complexes emit red light at record efficiency

Next-generation coatings and sensors that can operate in extreme conditions



Archives
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007


Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Sports Tech
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Fossil News
Genetic Archaeology
Genetics News
Geology News
Microbiology Research
Nanotech News
Parenting News
Physics News


  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2015 Web Doodle, LLC. All rights reserved.