Protonic conductivity and viscoelastic behaviour of Nafion® membranes with periodic mesoporous organosilica fillers

Nataly C. Rosero-Navarro, Eddy M. Domingues, Nuno Sousa, Paula Ferreira, Filipe M. Figueiredo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Benzene-bridged periodic mesoporous organosilicas functionalised with sulfonic acid (S-Ph-PMO) are explored as fillers to improve the protonic conductivity and the viscoelastic properties of Nafion®. Homogeneous membranes with 5, 10 and 20 wt.% submicrometric S-Ph-PMO particles (roughly corresponding to 11, 20 and 36 vol.%) were obtained by control of the casting suspensions. The three composite membranes have acid loads and water uptake values similar to Nafion®. The storage modulus of the 20 wt.% S-Ph-PMO composite (0.2 GPa at 100 C and 0.05 GPa at 140 C) is 2.5-15 times higher than for pure Nafion® (respectively 0.08 and 0.005 GPa), denoting a positive effect of the fillers on the mechanical resistance of the membranes, also observed for lower filler fractions. The protonic conductivity of the composite membranes at 20% relative humidity (RH) and 40 C is up to 1.5 orders of magnitude higher than for Nafion®. The magnitude of the effect decreases with increasing humidity, with the best composite attaining 0.03 S cm -1 at 120 C/40% RH, 3 times more than Nafion®. All membranes have similar behaviour at 98% RH, showing a maximum of 0.2 S cm-1 at 94 C, with the composites still showing slightly better performance. The results are discussed in terms of the effect of the fillers on reducing the internal swelling pressure and the activation energy for proton migration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5338-5349
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 26 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Composite
  • Nafion®
  • Organosilicas
  • Protonic conductivity
  • Viscoelastic behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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