Sulfonated silica-based electrolyte nanocomposite membranes

Dominique Gomes, Irmgard Buder, Suzana P. Nunes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


New functionalized particles were prepared by attaching sulfonated aromatic bishydroxy compounds onto fumed silica surface. First, a bromophenyl group was introduced onto the silica surface by reaction of bromophenyltrimethoxysilane with fumed silica. Then, sulfonated bishydroxy aromatic compounds were chemically attached to the silica surface by nucleophilic substitution reactions. The structure of the modified silica was characterized by elemental analysis: 13C-NMR, 29Si-NMR, and FTIR. Afterward, novel inorganic-organic electrolyte composite membranes based on sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone) have been developed using the sulfonated aromatic bishydroxy compounds chemically attached onto the fumed silica surface. The composite membrane prepared using silica with sulfonated hydroxytelechelic, containing 1,3,4-oxadiazole units, has higher proton conductivity values in all range of temperatures (40-140°C) than the membrane containing only the plain electrolyte polymer, while the methanol permeability determined by pervaporation experiment was unchanged. A proton conductivity up to 59 mS cm-1 at 140°C was obtained. The combination of these effects may lead to significant improvement in fuel cells (fed with hydrogen or methanol) at temperatures above 100°C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2278-2298
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Functionalization of polymers
  • Membranes
  • Nanocomposites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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