Cross-linked polybenzimidazole with enhanced stability for high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Miaomiao Han, Gang Zhang, Zhongguo Liu, Shuang Wang, Mingyu Li, Jing Zhu, Hongtao Li, Yang Zhang, Christopher M. Lew, Hui Na

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116 Scopus citations


Cross-linked polybenzimidazole membranes were obtained by heating at 160 °C, using 4,4′-diglycidyl(3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbiphenyl) epoxy resin (TMBP) as the cross-linker. The cross-linking reaction temperature was determined by DSC and the successful completion of the cross-linking reaction was shown by FTIR and solubility tests. The cross-linked membranes showed high proton conductivity and strong mechanical properties, as well as low swelling after immersion in 85% phosphoric acid at 90 °C. For instance, the membrane with a cross-linker content weight percent of 20% (PBI-TMBP 20%) with a PA doping level of 4.1 exhibited a proton conductivity of 0.010 S cm -1 and a low swelling volume of 50%. Moreover, the cross-linked membranes showed excellent oxidative stability. The PBI-TMBP 20% cross-linked membrane tested in Fenton's reagent (3% H2O2 solution, 4 ppm Fe2+, 70 °C) kept its shape for more than 480 h and did not break. In particular, the proton conductivity of the PA-PBI-TMBP 20% membrane after Fenton's test (30% H2O2, 20 ppm Fe2+, 85 °C) remained at a high level of 0.009 S cm-1. This investigation proved that cross-linking is a very effective approach for improving the performance of proton exchange membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2187-2193
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 21 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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