The Membrane-Electrode Interface in PEFCs: II. Impact on Fuel Cell Durability

Yu Seung Kim, Melinda Einsla, James E. McGrath, Bryan S. Pivovar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus Citations


The impact of the membrane-electrode interface on fuel cell durability was investigated in polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs). Cells using disulfonated poly(arylene ether) copolymer (BPSH) membranes exhibited greater performance loss than a cell using Nafion after 700 h of direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) testing. Additionally, the performance loss and cell resistance within the BPSH family of copolymers increased with increasing degree of disulfonation. Membrane characterization using H1 NMR, potentiometric titration, intrinsic viscosity, water uptake, and proton conductivity showed minimal impact from chemical/physical changes. Fuel cell performance degradation scaled well with initial membrane-electrode interfacial resistance, suggesting that the membrane-electrode interface was an important contributor to DMFC durability. These results are of particular interest for alternative proton exchange membranes where interfacial compatibility with electrodes is a critical, unresolved issue.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)B1602-B1607
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2010

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5600-48165


  • electrochemical oxidation
  • polymer electrolyte fuel cells


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