The Contamination Mechanism and Behavior of Amide Bond Containing Organic Contaminant on PEMFC

Huyen Dinh, Heli Wang, Hyun-Seok Cho, J.W. Zee, Mayukhee Das

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19 Scopus Citations


This paper presents a study of the effects of an organic contaminant containing an amide bond (-CONH-), ε-caprolactam, on polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). The ε-caprolactam has been detected in leachates from polyphthalamide materials that are being considered for use as balance-of-plant structural materials for PEMFCs. Contamination effects from ε-caprolactam in Nafion membranes are shown to be controlled by temperature. A possible explanation of the temperature effect is the endothermic ring-opening reaction of the amide bond (-NHCO-) of the cyclic ε-caprolactam. UV-vis and ATR-IR spectroscopy studies confirmed the presence of open ring structure of ε-caprolactam in membranes. The ECSA and kinetic current for the ORR of the Pt/C catalyst were also investigated and were observed to decrease upon contamination by the ε-caprolactam. By comparison of the CVs of ammonia and acetic acid, we confirmed the adsorption of carboxylic acid (-COOH) or carboxylate anion (-COO-) onto the surface of the Pt. Finally, a comparison of in situ voltage losses at 80°C and 50°C also revealed temperature effects, especially in the membrane, as a result of the dramatic increase in the HFR.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)F427-F435
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015. Published by ECS.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-62537


  • absorption
  • amide bond
  • caprolactam
  • organic contaminant


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