Alcohol-Treated Porous PTFE Substrate for the Penetration of PTFE-Incompatible Hydrocarbon-Based Ionomer Solutions

Seung Jae Hong, Sang Jun Yoon, Tae Ho Kim, Jang Yong Lee, Seong Geun Oh, Young Taik Hong, Soonyong So, Duk Man Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

For a mechanically tough proton exchange membrane, a composite membrane incorporated with a porous polymer substrate is of great interest to suppress the ionomer swelling and to improve the dimensional stability and mechanical strength of the ionomers. For the composite membranes, good impregnation of substrate-incompatible ionomer solution into the substrate pores still remains one of the challenges to be solved. Here, we demonstrated a facile process (surface treatment with solvents compatible with both substrate and the ionomer solution) for the fabrication of the composite membranes using polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as a porous substrate and poly(arylene ether sulfone) (SPAES) as a hydrocarbon-based (HC) ionomer. Appropriate solvents for the surface treatment were sought through the contact angle measurement, and it was found that alcohol solvents effectively tuned the surface property of PTFE pores to facilitate the penetration of the SPAES/N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) solution into ∼300 nm pores of the substrate. Using this simple alcohol treatment, the SPAES/NMP contact angle was reduced in half, and we could fabricate the mechanically tough PTFE/HC composite membranes, which were apparently translucent and microscopically almost void-free composite membranes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLangmuir
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

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