Synthesis and charachterization of sulphonated Poly (Ether ether ketone)-montmorillonite clay compositesfor polymer electrolytemembranes

Author(s): Anand Kumar Rajasekharan, Jayesh Krishnakumar, Suhanya Manoharan, Vijayalakshmy Naagaraj,Guhan Srinivasan*, T.Ramachandiran

Polymer composites of Sulphonated Poly Ether Ether Ketone (SPEEK)- MontMorrilonite clay (MMT) with varying concentrations ofMMT, were considered as materials for synthesizing Polymer ElectrolyteMembranes (PEM). The MMT was added to check for variations in the mechanical stability, solvent absorption and proton conductivity of the composites with virgin SPEEK. The membranes were cast fromsolution using N-Methyl- 2-Pyrrolidone (NMP). FT-IR confirmed the presence of sulphonic acid groups in the membranes and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) confirmed the amorphous nature of the composites. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) showed good dispersion and distribution of the MMT particles without any agglomerations. Thermal analysis confirmed thermal stability of the composite membranes upto 200°C and tensile test measurements showed higher tensile strength for the composites than virgin SPEEK. Electrochemical Impedance (EIS) showed an increase in proton conductivity for the composites when compared to virgin SPEEK. After characterization, Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) was fabricated with Nafion, SPEEK, SPEEK-MMT for performance evaluation of the membranes. The composites showed higher current density when compared to virgin SPEEK and Nafion.

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