Relaxation of proton conductivity and stress in proton exchange membranes under strain

Dan Liu, Michael A. Hickner, Scott W. Case, John J. Lesko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The stress relaxation and proton conductivity of Nafion 117 membrane (N117-H) and sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) copolymer membrane with 35% sulfonation (BPSH35) in acid forms were investigated under uniaxial loading conditions. The results showed that when the membranes were stretched, their proton conductivities in the direction of the strain initially increased compared to the unstretched films. The absolute increases in proton conductivities were larger at higher temperatures. It was also observed that proton conductivities relaxed exponentially with time at 30°C. In addition, the stress relaxation of N117-H and BPSH35 films under both atmospheric and an immersed (in deionized water) condition was measured. The stresses were found to relax more rapidly than the proton conductivity at the same strains. An explanation for the above phenomena is developed based on speculated changes in the channel connectivity and length of proton conduction pathway in the hydrophilic channels, accompanied by the rotation, reorientation, and disentanglements of the polymer chains in the hydrophobic domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-508
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Engineering Materials and Technology, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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