Danilczuk, Marek, Lukasz Lancucki, and Shulamith Schlick
FTIR spectroscopy and Micro-FTIR are useful tools for the study of membranes degradation.1,2 In particular micro-FTIR permits to study cross-sections of degraded membranes as a function of depth. The combination of the highly automated system and exceptional sensitivity of the Spotlight 200 Micro ATR FTIR spectrometer ensures that quality spectra can be obtained from samples areas down to the accepted diffraction limit of 10 microns. In micro-FTIR techniques, an IR spectrometer is linked to a microscope, and the sample can also be analyzed optically. This system also allows mapping the surface of polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs) in order to study the spatial dependence of degradation. As such it can get insight in the degradation process as a function of depth, and visualize the surface of the membrane.
This approach was applied to Nafion membranes degraded at 3M Co. during 52 h and 180 h at OCV fuel cell conditions and surface of SParmax (sulfonated Parmax) membrane. Results gathered so far clearly show that the micro FTIR technique can provide valuable information on the membrane degradation process. As seen from the line scan of Nafion MEA’s and the surface mapping of SParmax membranes, this technique allows the detection of the distribution of functional groups over a very small sampling area.
1. Schlick, S.; Lin, L.; Danilczuk, M.; Hamrock, S.J.; Schaberg, M.S. Prepr. Pap. Am. Chem. Soc., Div. Fuel Chem. 2010, 55, 231-232.
2. Danilczuk, M.; Lancucki, L;. Schlick, S.; Hamrock, S.J.; Haugen, G.M. manuscript in preparation.
This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Cooperative Agreement no. DE-FG36-07GO17006, NSF (Polymers Program), and General Motors.