Optimizing End-Group Cross-Linkable Polymer Electrolytes for Fuel Cell Applications

Kwan Soo Lee, Myung Hwan Jeong, Jae Suk Lee, Bryan S. Pivovar, Yu Seung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus Citations


This paper demonstrates the optimization of proton conductivity and water uptake for cross-linkable polymer electrolytes through synthesis and characterization of end-group cross-linkable sulfonated poly(arylene ether) copolymers. The extent of reaction of cross-linking was controlled by reaction time resulting in a series of polymers with two, independent tunable parameters, degree of sulfonation (DS) and degree of cross-linking (DC). For the polymers presented, cross-linking improved proton conductivity while reducing water uptake, an uncommon trend in polymer electrolytes where water is critical for proton conduction. Other trends relating to changes are reported and the results yield insight into the role of DS and DC and how to optimize electrochemical properties and performance of polymer electrolytes through these tunable parameters. Select polymer electrolytes were tested in fuel cells where performance and durability with accelerated relative humidity cycling were compared with Nafion®.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)180-188
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2010

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-560-48239


  • Cross-linking
  • Fuel cell
  • Optimization
  • Polymer electrolyte membrane
  • Proton conductivity
  • Sulfonation


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