New organic–inorganic nanocomposites based on PVA, SiO2 and SSA were prepared in a single step using a solution casting method, with the aim to improve the thermomechanical properties and ionic conductivity of PVA membranes. The structure, morphology, and properties of these membranes were characterized by Raman spectroscopy, small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), water uptake (Wu) measurements and ionic conductivity measurements. The SAXS/WAXS analysis showed that the silica deposited in the form of small nanoparticles (∼ 10 nm) in the PVA composites and it also revealed an appreciable crystallinity of pristine PVA membrane and PVA/SiO2 membranes (decreasing with increasing silica loading), and an amorphous structure of PVA/SSA and PVA/SSA/SiO2 membranes with high SSA loadings. The thermal and mechanical stability of the nanocomposite membranes increased with the increasing silica loading, and silica also decreased the water uptake of membranes. As expected, the ionic conductivity increased with increasing content of the SSA crosslinker, which is a donor of the hydrophilic sulfonic groups. Some of the PVA/SSA/SiO2 membranes had a good balance between stability in aqueous environment (water uptake), thermomechanical stability and ionic conductivity and could be potential candidates for proton exchange membranes (PEM) in fuel cells.
|Journal||Journal of Macromolecular Science: Part B - Physics|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2020|
- poly(vinyl alcohol)
- sulfosuccinic acid