Two different commercial grade carbon black samples, Cabot Regal 400R (C1) and Cabot Mogul L (C2), were sulfonated with diazonium salt of sulfanilic acid. The resultant sulfonated carbon black samples (S–C) were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA). Composite membranes were then prepared using S–C as fillers and sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone) (SPEEK) as polymer matrix with three different sulfonation degrees (DS = 60, 70 and 82%). Structure and properties of the composite membranes were characterized by FTIR, TGA, scanning electron microscopy, proton conduction, water uptake, ion exchange capacity and chemical stability. Incorporation of S–C particles above 0.25 wt% caused decrease in chemical stability. Pristine and composite membranes prepared from SPEEK82 decomposed completely in <1 h, which is undesirable for fuel cell applications. SPEEK60 membrane having wt% of 0.25–0.5 with S–C particles led to higher proton conductivity than that of pristine membrane. No positive effect was observed on the properties of the composite membranes with the addition of S–C particles at high concentrations due to the agglomeration problems and decrease in the content of conductive polymer matrix.
Volume 42 | Issue 2