Solvent Absorption Rate of Perfluorosulphonic Acid Membranes Towards Understanding Direct Coating Processes

Janghoon Park, Michael Ulsh, Scott Mauger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations


Here we present a method for measurement of the rate of solvent absorption by perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) membranes using a force tensiometer. The method presented here can be used as a tool to understand solvent absorption and should provide a rationale for designing catalyst inks for direct coating processes since it is necessary to understand how the absorption rate – on a time scale of seconds to minutes – compares to the time scales of the coating process in order to minimize membrane swelling. This method allows for rapid screening of the absorption and swelling behavior of different solvents and mixtures. Using this method, the absorption of water/1-propanol mixtures were measured for three thicknesses of Nafion PFSA membrane – Nafion 1135, Nafion 115, and Nafion 117. We find that the absorption rate is dependent on the ratio of the solvents as well as the thickness of the membrane. The analysis indicates that the highest absorption rate occurs when the mass percentage of 1-propanol in the mixture is 50%, whereas the lowest rates are for pure water and 1-propanol. In addition, membrane distortion also occurs most quickly for the 50% 1-propanol mixture. Our results suggest that catalyst inks that are highly rich (≥90%) in water or 1-propanol are likely best for direct coating as such formulations will minimize absorption and swelling.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)30239-30245
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number59
StatePublished - 26 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-77297


  • Absorption behavior
  • Direct coating
  • Force tensiometer


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