Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are attractive power plants for use in many applications, including portable power sources, electric vehicles, and on-site combined power/heat plants, due to the inherently high efficiency and low emission. The membrane electrode assembly (MEA) is the key component of a PEMFC. A standard five layer MEA consists of a proton exchange membrane, two catalyst layers, and two gas diffusion layers. The most commonly used electrolyte material is proton conductive perfluorinated sulfonic acid membrane, such as Nafion. Hydrogen is oxidized at the anode/electrolyte interface, the so-called triple-phase-boundary (TPB) active sites. TPB region must be a good electron conductor, a good ion conductor, and a porous structure for fuel/air diffusion. Typical PEMFC TPB is a porous structure made with Nafion and catalyst particle mixture. In this paper, electrospinning is used to synthesize polymer/Nafion nanofibers. Electrospinning is a straightforward method that has been successfully used to prepare fibers or fiber mats from a broad range of organic polymers. In the electrospinning process, a polymer solution held by its surface tension at the end of a capillary tube is subjected to an electric field, and as the electric field strength increases, a solid fiber is generated as the electrified jet is continuously stretched because of the electrostatic repulsions between the surface charges and the evaporation of solvent. Uniform one-dimensional Nafion nanofibers have been fabricated using Nafion solution and solutions containing polyvinyl pyrrolidone, polyethylene oxide, and polyvinyl alcohol. The morphologies of polymer/Nafion nanofibers, fabricated under different electrospinning conditions and different polymer compositions, are presented.

1.
Inoue
,
H.
,
Daiguji
,
H.
, and
Hiihara
,
E.
, 2004, “
The Structure of Catalyst Layers and Cell Performance in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells
,”
JSME Int. J., Ser. B
1340-8054,
47
(
2
), pp.
228
234
.
3.
Mahmud Hasan
,
A. B.
,
Guo
,
S. M.
, and
Ekkad
,
S. V.
, 2005, “
The Effects of Feeding Configurations to Water Flooding and General Performance of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell
,” IMECE2005:ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Orlando, FL., Nov. 5–11.
4.
Yang
,
C.
,
Costamagna
,
P.
,
Srinivasan
,
S.
,
Benziger
,
J.
, and
Bocarsly
,
A. B.
, 2001, “
Approaches and Technical Challenges to High Temperature Operation of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells
,”
J. Power Sources
0378-7753,
103
, pp.
1
9
.
5.
Fall
,
J.
,
Humphreys
,
D.
, and
Guo
,
S. M.
, 2007, “
Design and Testing of a Unitized Regenerative Fuel Cell
,” ASME Fuel Cell 2007–25202.
6.
Larminie
,
J.
, and
Dicks
,
A.
, 2003,
Fuel Cell System Explained
,
2nd ed.
,
Wiley
,
New York
.
7.
Li
,
D.
, and
Xia
,
Y.
, 2004, “
Direct Fabrication of Composite and Ceramic Hollow Nanofibers by Electrospinning
,”
Nano Lett.
1530-6984,
4
(
5
), pp.
933
938
.
8.
Reneker
,
D. H.
, and
Chun
,
I.
, 1996, “
Nanometre Diameter Fibres of Polymer, Produced by Electrospinning
,”
Nanotechnology
0957-4484,
7
, pp.
216
223
.
9.
Bognitzki
,
M.
,
Hou
,
H.
,
Ishaque
,
M.
,
Frese
,
T.
,
Hellwig
,
M.
,
Schwarte
,
C.
,
Schaper
,
A.
,
Wendorff
,
J. H.
, and
Greiner
,
A.
, 2000, “
Polymer, Metal, and Hybrid Nano- and Mesotubes by Coating Degradable Polymer Template Fibers (TUFT Process)
,”
Adv. Mater. (Weinheim, Ger.)
0935-9648,
12
(
9
), pp.
637
640
.
10.
Taylor
,
G. I.
, and
McEwan
,
A. D.
, 1965, “
The Stability of a Horizontal Fluid Interface in a Vertical Electric Field
,”
J. Fluid Mech.
0022-1120,
22
, pp.
1
15
.
11.
Hendricks
,
C. D.
, 1962, “
Charged Droplet Experiments
,”
J. Colloid Sci.
0095-8522,
17
(
3
), pp.
249
259
.
12.
Hogan
,
J. J.
, and
Hendricks
,
C. D.
, 1965, “
Investigation of Charge-to-Mass Ratio of Electrically Sprayed Liquid Particles
,”
AIAA J.
0001-1452,
3
(
2
), pp.
296
301
.
13.
Pfeifer
,
R. J.
, and
Hendricks
,
C. D.
, 1968, “
Parametric Studies of Electrohydrodynamic Spraying
,”
AIAA J.
0001-1452,
6
(
3
), pp.
496
502
.
14.
Sherman
,
A.
, and
Stark
,
K. W.
, 1970, “
Research and Development in Needle and Slit Colloid Thrusters
,” NASA Report No. TN-D-5305.
15.
Fridrikh
,
S. V.
,
Yu
,
J. H.
,
Brenner
,
M. P.
, and
Rutledge
,
G. C.
, 2003, “
Controlling the Fiber Diameter During Electrospinning
,”
Phys. Rev. Lett.
0031-9007
90
, p.
144502
.
16.
Reneker
,
D. H.
,
Yarin
,
A. L.
,
Fong
,
H.
, and
Koombhongse
,
S.
, 2000, “
Bending Instability of Electrically Charged Liquid Jets of Polymer Solutions in Electrospinning
,”
J. Appl. Phys.
0021-8979,
87
, pp.
4531
4547
.
17.
Hohman
,
M. M.
,
Shin
,
M.
,
Rutledge
,
G.
, and
Brenner
,
M. P.
, 2001, “
Electrospinning and Electrically Forced Jets. II. Applications
,”
Phys. Fluids
1070-6631,
13
, pp.
2221
2236
.
You do not currently have access to this content.