(439g) Characterization of Polyelectrolyte Membranes with in-Situ Metal-Oxide Nanoparticles

Authors: 
Colon, J., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Landers, J. M., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Neimark, A. V., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Vishnyakov, A., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

The in-situ growth of metal-oxide nanoparticles (MONP) in polyelectrolyte membranes (PEM), Nafion 117, has been investigated. Among several potential applications, such as fuel cells, water purification, and others, these PEM can serve as self-detoxifying composite PEM barriers against dangerous organic compounds, such as chemical warfare agents. These PEM have interconnected hydrophilic and hydrophobic sub-domains, which can serve as perm-selective barriers. In-situ formation of MONP within PEM occurs at the interconnected hydrophilic sub-domains in which the sulfonated groups are present and the ion exchange occurs. Ion exchange capacities of these hydrophilic sub-domains have been studied with mono-, di-, and tri-valent ions to estimate theoretical MONP particle loading within membranes. After MONP growth, water uptake, membrane porosity, fixed ion concentration, hydration number, and a series of other experiments were studied to assess the impact of MONP formation in membrane mechanical and transport properties. Techniques used for the characterization of PEM and MONP include x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and complexometric titrations.