New Proton Exchange Membranes for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells, Prof. James E. McGrath



Dinner Lecture

Thursday, Oct. 9
Michael's Restaurant
Mountain View

"New Proton Exchange Membranes
for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells"

James E. McGrath
Department of Chemistry
Inst. for Polymeric Materials and Interfaces
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA

New proton exchange membranes have been prepared
by the direct copolymerization of disulfonated
dichlorodiphenyl sulfone, dichlorodiphenyl sulfone
and appropriate bisphenols. The principal biphenol
based system is referred to as BPSH and an analogous
system based upon Bisphenol AF is similar except
for the introduction of 6 fluorines into the repeat
unit. Both copolymer series can be developed into
tough, mechanically strong films, which show
conductivity appropriate for proton exchange
membrane based fuel cells. The permeability to
methanol is significantly reduced relative to
Nafion, and this enhances the selectivity of the
systems. Membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs)
have been prepared, which show good performance.
In particular, the partially fluorinated 6F based
copolymers have excellent performance, which is
tentatively attributed to enhanced bonding to the
Nafion electrode materials, which likely reduces
interfacial resistance. Synthesis and characterization
of the materials will be described.


1. F. Wang, M.A. Hickner, Q. Ji, W. Harrison, J.B. Mecham, T.A. Zawodzinski,
and J.E. McGrath, "Synthesis and Characterization of Sulfonated Poly(arylene ether)
Random (Statistical) Copolymers Via Direct Polymerization: Candidates for New Proton
Exchange Membranes," Macro. Symp. 175(1), 387-396, 2001.
2. F. Wang, M. Hickner, Y.S. Kim, T. Zawodzinski and J.E. McGrath, "Synthesis and
Characterization of Sulfonated Poly(arylene ether sulfone) Random (Statistical)
Copolymers Via Direct Polymerization: Candidates for New Proton Exchange
Membranes," Journal of Membrane Science, 197 (2002), 231-242.
3. Y.S. Kim, F. Wang, M. Hickner, S. McCartney, Y.T. Hong, T.A. Zawodzinski, a
nd J.E. McGrath, "Effect of Acidification Treatment and Morphological Stability
of Sulfonated Poly(Arylene Ether Sulfone)s for Proton Exchange Membranes at
Elevated Temperature Operation of Fuel Cell," Journal of Polymer Science, Part B:
Polymer Physics, October (2003).
4. Y.S. Kim, L. Dong, M. Hickner, T.E. Glass, and J.E. McGrath, "State of Water of
Sulfonated Poly(arylene ether sulfone)s and Nafion and its Effect on Physico-
Electrochemical Properties," Macromolecules, 36 (17) (2003).
5. Y.S. Kim, F. Wang, M. Hickner, T.A. Zawodzinski, and J.E. McGrath,
"Fabrication and Characterization of Heteropolyacid (H3PW12O40)/ Directly
Polymerized Sulfonated Poly(arylene ether sulfone) Copolymer Composite
Membranes for Higher Temperature Fuel Cell Applications," J. of Membrane
Science, 121 (1-2), 263-282 (2003).
6. W. Harrison, F. Wang, J.B. Mecham, V. Bhanu, M. Hill, Y.S. Kim, and J. E. McGrath,
"Influence of Bisphenol Structure on the Direct Synthesis of Sulfonated Poly(arylene
ether copolymers). 1," Journal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry, (2003)
Vol. 41, 2264-2276
7. M. A. Hickner, Y.S. Kim, F. Wang, W. Harrison, M. Hill, L. Dong, B. Pivovar*,
P. Zelenay and J.E. McGrath, "New Proton Exchange Membranes (PEM) for Direct
Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC)," Electrochimica Acta, 2003, in press.

Speaker background:

James E. McGrath is Director, Materials Research
Institute; Univ. Distinguished Professor, Chemistry,
Virginia Tech at Blacksburg, Virginia. He gained his
B.S. in chemistry at Siena College and his M.S. and
Ph.D. in Polymer Science from University of Akron.
He was a Research Scientist/Group Leader at Union
Carbide Corporation in Bound Brook, NJ for ten years
before moving to Virginia Tech. in 1975 where he has
been ever since. His current primary research interests
are synthesis and characterization of high performance
matrix polymers and structural adhesives, high-
temperature polymer dielectrics for computers,
fire-resistant polymers and composites; and new
directly copolymerized sulfonated aromatic
copolymers for proton exchange membranes (fuel cells).
Prof. McGrath has published widely and participates
vigorously in Polymer Science conferences and
workshops where he is a much sought after speaker.
He has built up a large fan club including his
many graduate students and post-docs.



DATE: Thursday, Oct. 9

Location: Michael's at Shoreline Park, Mountain View

Timing: 6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture

Cost: $30 with advance registration
half price students, retired, unemployed
free for just the lecture at 8PM
(but please let us know for headcount)

$35 at the door with no guarantees
of admission or dinner choice

PLEASE NOTE: we accept cash or checks, but are unable to
accept payment by credit card at this time.

Deadline for registration:
5 PM Tuesday Oct. 7

Please register on the web site

Or, contact:
John Kerr

You should receive confirmation of your registration; if not,
please contact us again.


Dinner choices:
chicken Marsalla
vegetable brochette
grilled salmon

Note that we must request that you be liable for your
registration fee if you register and do not attend;
cancellation is allowed up to the registration deadline.


Restaurant's web page directions

From 101 in Mountain View, take the Shoreline Boulevard
Exit, turning toward the bay. Drive past the Shoreline
Amphitheater and go straight ahead, entering into
Shoreline Park. After a mile or so inside the park,
a sign for Michael's will direct you to turn left into
the parking lot for Michael's.
Address: 2960 N Shoreline Blvd.
Restaurant phone: 650-962-1014
(do not call restaurant for reservations)


Upcoming GGPF meetings:

Nov. 11, Michael's at Shoreline
Prof. Mike McGehee
Stanford Materials Science & Engineering Dept.
"Optimizing the Structure of Conjugated Polymer Films
for Transistors and Photovoltaic Cells."

Dec. 11, Faz Restaurant, Sunnyvale
Prof. Tim Patten
U. C. Davis Chemistry Dept.
"Synthesis and Assembly of Polymer-Grafted


OTHER EVENTS of possible interest to the
GGPF audience:


Sept. 20 & Sept. 27, San Mateo
Two-Day short course (sequential Saturdays)
"High Performance Separations of Biopolymers"
Sponsored by California Separations Science
Society, CaSSS (covers HPLC, SEC, etc.)

Sept. 23 - 25, San Jose
BIOPHEX, co-located with INTERPHEX
a bio/pharmaceutical meeting

Sept. 25, Cupertino --- NOTE date change.
ACS Santa Clara Valley Section dinner meeting
Dr. Ken Carter, IBM Almaden Research Center
"Chemistry at Nanopatterned Interfaces -
Surface Modification of Imprinted Polymers"

Sept. 29, San Jose
AVS sponsored
Chemical Mechanical Planarization User's Group
Sept. 30, San Jose
Thin Films Users Group Conference


Oct. 3-4, Stanford
18th Annual Johnson Symposium in Organic Chemistry

Oct. 5 - 8, Rohnert Park
ACS POLY Divison Workshop
Advances in Polyolefins 2003

Oct. 5-9, Squaw Valley
microTAS2003 - The 7th International Conference on Miniaturized
Chemical and BioChemical Analysis Systems

Oct. 10-12, Burlingame
2003 Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology

Oct. 19-22, Oakland
55th Pacific Coast Regional meeting of the
American Ceramic Society

Oct. 24-26, Palo Alto
IMAPS (International Microelectronics & Packaging Society)
Advanced Technology Workshop on "Thermal Management for
High-Performance Computing & Wireless Applications"


Nov. 10-13, San Francisco
Nanocomposites 2003

Nov 16-20, San Francisco
Annual Fall National AIChE meeting


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